Changes Around WDW
With all the excitement over major changes at Animal Kingdom including Pandora – The World of AVATAR and Rivers of Light, it’s easy to forget about the other changes happening at WDW these days. Sure, a lot of magic is still in the works (check out the next article in this issue for a look at what’s coming soon!) but in the past year a lot of things have changed all over the Most Magical Place on Earth.
The Magic Kingdom is looking a lot different after dark in 2017. Happily Ever After has replaced the long-running Wishes as the nightly fireworks show. Once Upon a Time is the newest in a string of ever-changing Castle projection shows. And most notably – the Main Street Electrical Parade has moved over to Disneyland in California, leaving parade lovers out in the cold.
But, after a successful launch of beer and wine available at Be Our Guest (in a formerly dry park), Disney has added alcoholic beverages to the menus at Liberty Tree Tavern, Cindrella’s Royal Table, Skipper Canteen, and Tony’s Town Square.
Princess Elena of Avalor (the newest Disney Channel star!) is now meeting at Princess Fairytale Hall and Liberty Square now offers another show – The Muppets Present Great Moments in American History. Plus, Tiana’s taking over the Liberty Belle each afternoon to throw a Festival of Fantasy parade viewing ice cream social event.
And let’s not forget the new way to start your day at Magic Kingdom: the gates open an hour before the park does so that guests can shop on Main Street, grab a Starbucks or some breakfast, and watch the opening show in front of the Castle – no more train station countdown!
The biggest news at Epcot is the introduction of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, held in January and February. It follows the formula of food, merchandise, and performances that make the park’s other festivals so popular – but it celebrates visual, performance, and culinary art. It’s a great way to bring some cheer and added value to Epcot during the slower winter months!
In other Epcot news, the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival is showing some new shorts – including Feast! Choza Margarita is set to open in Mexico, replacing the popular margarita stand, and the Frozen Ever After Sparkling Dessert Party is making its debut this month!
DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
The Music of Pixar LIVE is a new summer engagement taking over the Theater of the Stars each evening for three performances which include a sympohony bringing to life some of the most iconic music from Cars 3, Toy Story, and more.
Meet and greet opportunities have been enchanced here with a Star Lord and Groot (in his baby form!) meet celebrating the launch of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – and a much anticipated BB-8 meet and greet in Star Wars Launch Bay. More good news for Star Wars fans awaiting the new land – a new 7-hour Star Wars Guided Tour is being offered with VIP access to Star Wars attractions in the park.
Miss Adventure Falls has opened – the newest, and longest family raft ride at WDW! In fact, this one includes a very cool ramp that takes guests to the top of the slide – no need to carry that inner tube to the top! Cowabunga Disney dudes!
It’s hard to believe but new stuff is STILL opening at Disney Springs! This year, The Polite Pig, Paddlefish, and Planet Hollywood Observatory are all new dining experiences for guests – with more to come in the summer and fall! New shops are opening all the time too. Our favorite? The Dress Shop at Marketplace Co-op!
At Wilderness Lodge, the DVC villas have become the Boulder Ridge Villas, swanky new Copper Creek Cabins are opening up for glamping family reunions, and the Hidden Springs pool got a makeover. Did we mention there are some new eats too, at the Geyser Point Bar and Grill? Yum!
Guest rooms and the Coronado Springs Resort and Pop Century Resort are getting a complete overhaul well into 2018 – but the first newly renovated buildings are open now!
Over at Disney’s Boardwalk, Flying Fish got a complete menu and interior re-design,
Abracadabar is serving up curious cocktails and mocktails and Trattoria Al Forno is offering the most adventurous character dining experience yet – you can meet Rapunzel, Flynn, Ariel, and Eric at the Bon Voyage Breakfast!
Want a reason to get gussied up in the morning? High end Sunday brunches are now on offer at California Grill and Narcoosees!
OTHER MAGICAL CHANGES
Park hopping just got easier with the new Express Transportation option – a paid service that allows guests to transfer between parks on an exclusive bus – bypassing security at their next destination!
Magicband2 has been rolled out across property along with a ton of new bands and accessories which allow guests to wear their technology in a variety of styles.
The Disney Dining Plan has been making waves again. This year during Free Dining, the
quick service plan was offered at value and moderate resorts – with the “basic” plan that included table service options only offered on deluxe bookings. And it was recently announced that in 218 the plan will now feature alcholoic beverages and specialty shakes, coffees, and mocktails at table service experiences.
Finally, at the oft-forgotten ESPN Wide World of Sports, a new cheerleading and dance venue is opening to better accommodate the competitions that happen at WDW throughout the year!
That’s a lot of changes to keep up with and 2017 is only half over! Be sure to watch our blog at wdw-magazine.com/category/blog for all the latest WDW news!