As per usual, when one Epcot festival ends, details on the next festival get released, which means that we now have the first details about the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. This will be the 23rd year for the event which will take place for an unprecedented 90 days, from March 2 through May 30.
Each year, new and returning favorites help to make up this unique event. As far as what’s new for 2016, we’ll see a brand new front entrance topiary display featuring Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, alongside their Uncle Donald and Daisy in a display inspired by the 1943 comic book, “The Victory Garden.”
Also on display for the first time ever will be the Ranger Mickey topiary which will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.
Located behind Spaceship Earth will be a new Floral Sun Garden which will feature golden colors and yellow “sunbursts.” At night, twinkling lights will shine.
For the little ones, there will be an innovative new play garden featuring the Fab 5, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald, in topiary form with musical instruments built into the outdoor climbing system. Read the rest of this entry »
Walt Disney World and the Christmas Season. It just doesn’t get any more magical than that. I absolutely love this time of year as the Disney World Parks and Resorts begin to deck their halls and debut their annual holiday events and roll out new festive merchandise, it sort of helps me to kick off my own holiday preparations. One way to prep for the upcoming holiday is to take a few moments to drop by the Magic Kingdom or the Santa Chalet at Disney Springs to let the kids, and yourself, tell Santa what’s on your wish list. This tradition got me thinking… If I could, what would I ask Walt Disney World to get me for Christmas? If you will, indulge with me in a little bit of Christmas fantasy as I fill out My Disney World Christmas Wish List!
Bring Back the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – Of all the holiday entertainment at Walt Disney World, the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is my personal favorite. I love the fake snow, the music and carols, the looks on everyone’s faces as they take in the lights, and the fact that it’s free with park admission! So as you can imagine, I was pretty much crushed when I heard that this is the last year for the Osborne Lights, yet I’m just as thrilled about the new developments coming to Hollywood Studios such as Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. At this point, I’m holding onto a hope that Disney may move the Osborne Lights to another location at Walt Disney World. An announcement confirming my hopes is most definitely on my Christmas Wish List this year.
Rides and games galore at the 2015 IAAPA Expo in this Best Week Ever. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
In today’s very special episode of Best Week Ever, we’re going to take a trip outside of today’s theme parks themselves to a wondrous world where the attractions of the future are on display. Welcome to the 2015 IAAPA Attractions Expo, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ annual convention at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. The enormous event, which is for industry professionals and the media, is a showcase for everything that’s new and next in themed entertainment, and while Disney and Universal don’t have booths on the cavernous show floor, most of the vendors they and other big parks partner with do. So look carefully because you never know — in a few years you may see products previewed below inside a major Orlando attraction!
As I mentioned recently, for Star Wars fans, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is going to be the place to be coming up this winter at Walt Disney World. The fun will be staggered, but begins soon – December 1. Actually, some of the fun has already started, as the new scene and other fun surprises have already been added to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
As a reminder, here is what Guests can expect to see beginning December 1 in the park, transporting them to a galaxy far, far away:
Star Wars Launch Bay
Located in Animation Courtyard, the Star Wars Launch Bay will be a primary location within the park for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars. Guests will be able to see special concept artwork, interact with beloved Star Wars characters, tour galleries featuring treasured memorabilia and replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, including ones from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, plus you’ll of course, have access to special Star Wars merchandise.
In our second segment of music from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we go to the section of the park that revolves around Africa. This area includes a village called Harambe and the attractions Kilimanjaro Safaris and Festival of the Lion King.
Harambe Village (and its market) has a nice variety of music in its area. It doesn’t stick to the norm, but mixes styles that make you feel like you’re in a real African village.
The village was created as a good connection to the savannah that you see in Kilimanjaro Safaris. The idea was that people who lived in the village would be in charge of the savannah and the safari rides. There’s a lot of history shown through the weathered buildings, fort, and canons. But the area music brings out the modern style.
Crowds across Walt Disney World Resort were slightly lower than expected overall in the early part of last week and higher than expected in the latter half of the week. Again last week we saw record breaking wait times for this time of year. On Monday for example, At Magic Kingdom we saw a crowd level ‘9’. The same day last year was a crowd level ‘1’. Animal Kingdom saw some wild swings in wait times day-to-day although four of the seven days the Disney World Crowd Calendar was within one of what we observed at that park.
We recently added a collection of videos to our YouTube channel that show samples of walkthroughs at the Magic Kingdom during various crowd level days. Take a look and let us know what you think.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Disney World Crowd Calendar Report:
How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Resort Last Week?
The Universal Crowd Calendar overpredicted the wait times at both Universal parks for the first half of last week but the second half was nearly bang-on. In fact, wait times remained almost the same between Sunday and Thursday.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report:
Last week was the first week that we were able to compare our new adjusted crowd levels to what we observed at the Disneyland parks. They did pretty well although still tended to be too low overall. Crowds were evenly spread between the resort’s two parks each day. Wednesday was Veterans Day, represented by the spike on the “What We Saw” line.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:
Our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar uses a 1 to 10 scale to describe how crowded each theme park will be, every day for the next year. But if you’re a first-time visitor trying to pick a week for your vacation, it can be difficult to visualize the difference between a “4”-level crowd and an “8.”
To help with this, we’ve created a set of video walk-throughs of the Magic Kingdom for crowd levels 4 through 10, shown below. Each video was taken at the same time of day, goes through each land in the park, and lasts around 45 seconds.