If you’ve been paying attention to the rumor mill lately, you’ll likely have heard about the supposed expansions for two major attractions at Walt Disney World. One was for Soarin’ and one was for Toy Story Midway Mania! It seems as if those rumors were indeed true, because today, Disney officially announced both of those expansions were coming to fruition.
At Epcot, Soarin’ will be adding a third theater; currently there are two theaters in use with the popular attraction. In addition to the extra theater, there will be updates to the screens, as well as the projection system. (Let’s hope this means we will finally stop Soarin’ with big random spots floating on the screen.)
Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the extremely popular Toy Story Midway Mania! will also see an addition in the form of an extra track. If you’ve been to the park lately, you’ll notice that the Soundstage 1 (the recent former location of both Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Darth’s Mall) has walls around it, which was done in preparation of the expansion.
Both of these expansions are in an effort to increase guest throughput, as both are extremely popular with very long waits most days and FastPass+ reservations often difficult to obtain, especially if you are trying to get one on the day you are visiting the park.
These expansions are expected to be completed by late 2016 and as of right now, both attractions are currently open for guests to enjoy with no refurbishment dates announced.
Here I am again with more game reviews based off of different attractions found at Innoventions. If you missed my review of the Great Piggy Bank Adventure App, read that here.
These reviews are part of my new series, DIY (Disney It Yourself), where I explore different ways to enjoy Disney Parks at home.
As you’ll soon see, I experienced hits along with a few misses. First on the list: the Habit Heroes App!
The Habit Heroes app was introduced in the Apple App Store December 12th, 2012. It can also be downloaded via Google Play. It is based off the attraction of the same name, found at Innoventions East in Epcot. The app states:
The Habit Heroes mobile app is a comic book that chronicles the adventures of the healthy Habit Heroes as they clean up health hazards around the globe. Each comic book issue unlocks an interactive tool that helps foster healthy habits in your every day life.
It’s back again! Guests will once again be able to participate in a special Easter egg hunt which has guests searching a Disney theme park, trying to find eggs that are designed to look like Disney characters. This year, the fun hunt will be returning to Walt Disney World’s Epcot and Disneyland Resort’s Disney California Adventure and Disneyland from March 27 through April 5!
Here’s how it will work: Guests will be able to purchase a map for $4.95, plus tax. With each map will be stickers provided that correspond to the actual eggs that can be found in each of the the parks. Guests are instructed go search the park with map in hand and put the character egg sticker on the map where the actual character egg was found! Once all the eggs have been located, guests must return their map to the redemption station for a fun prize!
Here’s a glimpse of what the maps will look like and where eggs will be located:
Welcome back to this brand new edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! (Crowd cheers…ok…maybe not…but a girl can dream.) This week has been very fruitful with little tidbits to share with you all; I’ve got lots of refurbishment news, details on Be Our Guest Restaurant, new information on Avatarland, and more!
Wow! There are a lot of refurbishments that have been scheduled for Walt Disney World. Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom. First, for those traveling in the summer, you will unfortunately not get to experience Pirates of the Caribbean. The attraction, which has been riddled with problems lately, will be seeing a 4+ month refurbishment, from May 11 through September 25, reopening September 26. No word on what the refurbishment will entail, but it is certainly necessary. There will also be a two day refurbishment of Stitch’s Great Escape in early March, March 1 and 2. The attraction will reopen on March 3. For those visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom for barbeque, you’ll have to wait a little longer, because Flame Tree Barbeque’s refurbishment has been pushed back to last until April 22, reopening April 23. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it would appear that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed for a refurbishment from April 20-24, reopening on April 25. Also, Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed September 7-10, reopening on September 11. You can always keep up with the latest refurbishments on our refurb page.
So I don’t usually share the videos that Disney posts, but I will if I find them particularly newsworthy…like today, where they posted one hyping up Avatar for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s nice to finally see some more information about the project. The new concept art shown in the video is quite gorgeous, but what really impressed me was when they finally showed some of the bioluminescent aspects. It almost reminds me of being under the sea, seeing a unique type of illuminated coral. These additions will certainly make Animal Kingdom a destination once the sun sets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the video:
As a non-Florida resident, my trips to Walt Disney World are not as frequent as I’d like. And when I get the opportunity to get to my favorite place on earth, I plan every moment of every day and pack in as much pixie dust as possible. It’s not uncommon for me to only get 4-5 hours of sleep a night as I open and close parks and fill the days with finely-tuned Touring Plansand FastPass+ reservations. These trips usually end with me in a Disney-induced coma on a plane heading back to the southwest, but completely content. I imagine it’s what marathon runners must feel like. Yeah, it can be painful, and sometimes you wonder if you’re insane for committing to this, but afterword it’s such a triumph and you can’t help but feel proud for all you’ve accomplished.
It’s vision that brings us all joy. Photo by Michael Dahlgren
When I was presented with the opportunity to be in Orlando for a work conference, my heart simultaneously leapt and crashed all at once. What a great excuse for an impromptu Disney trip (especially with a flight and 2 hotel nights paid for)! But then I looked at my budget, there’s a reason I didn’t have a Disney trip in the works already – I was already over-extended and committed to other trips this year. But how could I be in Orlando – so close to the House of the Mouse and NOT go?! The mere idea violates my very nature as a Disneyphile. I confided my disappointment in friend who kindly suggested, why don’t I just pick one park to go to for a day? That suggestion is almost more unnatural. One park? How can I choose one park? That’s like choosing a favorite child! I love them all! Choose the classic innocence and magic of Magic Kingdomover the food and culture of Epcot? Or the details and natural beauty of Animal Kingdomover the stomach churning thrill rides of Hollywood Studios? No, no – there’s no way to pick just one park! The thought then occurred to me, I could do the four-parks-in-one-day challenge. But with only one day to dedicate to parks, I couldn’t be cheated that way. And I know that there’s no way I could only do one or two attractions in each park and pass by everything else without knowing I’d be right back to really do the park justice. And the time spent traveling between parks would take up too much precious time. So, that ruled out four park hopping.
Imagine yourself sitting in front of the television on a Sunday evening. There you are minding your own business when suddenly, a Disney Parks commercial comes on.
BAM! The nostalgia hits you like a ton of bricks. You get that yearning feeling in the pit of your stomach while your heart aches for the most magical place on earth. Your next trip isn’t for several months. What can you do?!
In this series, I’m on a quest to scratch that Disney itch from the comfort of my own home. I’ll be reviewing Disney apps, trying out Disney crafts and exploring different options for satisfying that Disney craving.
First on the agenda: The Great Piggy Bank Adventure App.
The Great Piggy Bank Adventure App was first introduced in the Apple App Store on June 24, 2013. An update followed on March 14, 2014. It is based off the attraction of the same name, found at Innoventions West in Epcot. It is published by Disney and is presented by T. Rowe Price.
The level of detail that Disney Imagineers put into the theming of the parks is astonishing. If I can be perfectly content just sitting in an area and soaking in all the details, then that to me is a wonderfully themed area of a Disney park. The same goes for Disney dining. Obviously, food quality comes first but with the premium that you’re going to pay at Disney, I always try to eat at restaurants that are immersive and give me that feeling that I’ve actually entered the setting that the Imagineers were trying to convey. If you have that same desire to be transported away during your next Disney dining experience then you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find a list of my personal five best themed restaurants at Disney World. Each of these restaurants has excellent theming that will surely enhance your meal. Luckily, the food happens to be great at each of them as well.
5. Flame Tree Barbecue
Might have to talk to your kids about the birds and the…snakes?
Starting off our list is the only quick service entry and the only outdoor entry on our list. Located in Animal Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbecue is my favorite place to eat a meal outdoors in the parks. Animal Kingdom is already a beautiful park so it’s no surprise that Flame Tree lives up to its park’s reputation. There are both covered seating areas and more sunny areas that are overlooking the water with Everest in the distance. There’s also a beautiful pond/pool towards the back of the seating area as well. Along with the great views, the covered areas I mentioned before are cool looking and come complete with a surprisingly “real” Circle of Life theme. Each patio features a predator eating its prey, which shows that Disney can take the kid gloves off every once in a while without going over the top. When it comes down to it, Flame Tree has arguably the best counter service food and best outdoor seating areas in the parks, which make it my fifth most atmospheric restaurant at Disney World. Note: Flame Tree is currently closed during Rivers of Light construction at Animal Kingdom, though some of its seating is open and you can find your smoked meats other places in the park.
Beginning tomorrow (Sunday, February 22, 2015), if you’ll be traveling to Walt Disney World, entering a theme park is going to be more expensive.
For the first time ever, Disney has increased the price of a Magic Kingdom single day park ticket past the $100 mark: a one-day ticket to just the Magic Kingdom will now cost $105 for those ages 10 and up, an increase of $6. Ticket prices also increased for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with a one-day ticket costing $97 for those ages 10 and up, a $3 increase.
Other Magic Your Way base tickets have jumped about $11 per ticket (with a few exceptions).
It’s not just Magic Your Way base tickets that have increased in price. All options have increased, with minor increases to Park Hoppers, as well as the Water Park Fun & More options – both of which increased about $4. (Again, there are a few exceptions.) Also, the Park Hopper plus Water Park Fun & More combined ticket option increased by $4.
I do have some bad news for those of you who like to purchase the No Expiration option. Disney will no longer offer the No Expiration option, and now all tickets will expire 14 days after first use.
This is your official warning! It’s apparently time for that annual event – the Walt Disney World ticket price increase. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic Kingdom will see a price increase that will raise the cost of a one day ticket to $105, plus tax, for adults (ages 10 and up.) This will finally take the Walt Disney World Resort over the $100 mark, making it the first theme park to do so.
In addition, it would seem that tickets for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also be increasing; guests can expect to pay $99 for an adult one day ticket (ages 10 and up.).
Of course, with the one day ticket price increases, it is also extremely likely that all other Magic Your Way ticket prices will also increase. These change are expected to occur over the weekend. (Prices will very likely increase for Sunday morning.)
Rumors indicate that Disneyland may also see price increases, and of course, if Walt Disney World does increase their prices this weekend, then it will be highly likely that other Orlando theme parks (like Universal Orlando Resort) will also see increases.
I’ll make sure to have the full pricing details for you as soon as they are released.
If you’ll be traveling to Walt Disney World this year, consider purchasing your tickets now and remember that our Price Comparison Tool can help you find the least expensive tickets for your needs.
The Disneyland Resort crowds are greatly affected by the number of local tourists that visit the Parks every day of the year. Disneyland Resort offers a variety of annual pass options that many local residents choose to purchase. Weekends and nice weather days will always see a jump in attendance throughout the year as annual pass holders take advantage how easy it is to just drop by the resort. Fridays and Mondays are also more crowded than the rest of the weekdays as locals extend their weekends. Another factor that impacts the Disneyland Resort crowds is the number of people visiting the area for conventions. The Anaheim Convention Center is the largest facility on the west coast and hosts thousands of visitors each year. Although the attendees are usually occupied for several hours a day with business, these travelers often take this opportunity to bring their families with them to enjoy the Disneyland Resort while they work. Not to mention, the crowds are also greater when the Disneyland Resort is offering one of their special events such as Halloween Time or Happy Lunar New Year.