One of the biggest dilemmas of any Walt Disney World trip is figuring out what you want to do. There are so many options to consider for your trip, including 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Disney Springs, hundreds of restaurants and attractions, shows, tours, and more. With all of these options, and the understanding that you can’t possibly see and do everything in one trip (even a 7-day trip) here are some tips to figure out what to include in your itinerary.
As I am sure you all know, Disney’s D23 Expo wrapped up this weekend and we enjoyed lots of cool news. If you’re not up to date on everything that was announced, check out my roundup post here. For this post, however, I’d like to talk about the things that were not announced that I wish had been in relation to the parks, particularly Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
If you didn’t follow D23 closely, I thought it may be helpful (now that it is over) to provide some updates to you. The very simple gist of it, at least as far as the US parks are concerned, would be as follows:
Disney announced today, via their blog, that both Soarin’ and Toy Story Midway Mania would be expanded at Walt Disney World, to be complete by late 2016. Full details from the Disney Parks Blog, quoted below:
Well, it’s official. The Sorcerer’s Hat at Hollywood Studios is officially leaving as of January, 2015. I have to be honest, the hat never bothered me. I know, I know, everyone seems to HATE that hat? I guess I just never understood why it bothered people so much. Is the view of the Chinese Theater replica cooler? Probably. Is it enough to get heated over? I don’t think so. But, to each their own. I neither loved nor hated the hat, so I am not feeling any emotion either way about its removal. But, here is a great pic of it for old time’s sake:
Disney World is always an amazing experience and the most crucial part of that are the attractions (yes, even if you’re a huge Disney Dining fan like myself). We all have our own favorite rides and shows, the rides we run to when the rope drops, and even the stuff we tend to avoid. I’m always a fan of trying to make things even better than they already are, so here are five tips I’ve come up with enhance some of my favorite Disney World rides.
Tip #5 – Incorporate fireworks into the rides
Ok, I admit, this one is a bit tricky and to be honest it’s always a bit of a dice roll. But, there have been a few times where I’ve timed Jungle Cruise perfectly during the fireworks display. Can you see the entire fireworks display for the entire ride? No. But, when you can see the fireworks up in the sky while you sail around on the Jungle Cruise, it’s pretty cool, and gives the attraction kind of a whole new feel.
I’ve come to believe that Animal Kingdom is one of those parks that’s a little misunderstood at Walt Disney World. Often labeled as a “half day park”, mostly due to it’s typically earlier closing time (than other parks) but also sometimes due to the perception that it lacks enough rides to keep you entertained for a full day. While it’s true the park will usually close earlier, it’s completely untrue that there is not enough to keep you busy there all day. I’ve put together these five mistakes that I find are common for people to make at Animal Kingdom (some of which I even made myself). Avoiding these could be the difference between a good half day at Animal Kingdom and a fantastic full day.
Mistake #1 – Arriving Late
Animal Kingdom’s biggest difference is that we’re talking about real life animals here. They have legitimate routines that dictate when they’re active and when they’re ready for a little snooze. The morning, by and large, is when these animals are most active. Thus, it’s important to arrive as soon as you can, usually 9AM on normal days. But, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort, then you are entitled to Extra Magic Hours, which means on certain days you can get in at 8AM. Which actual days this occurs for Animal Kingdom varies a bit, but if you want to synch up your trip, there is a good reference here at wdwinfo.com.
This summer there has been a lot of announcements about things closing (and opening) at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Maelstrom / Frozen announcement probably got the most press (and biggest opinions). American Idol Experience closing didn’t get too much buzz and I am actually still confused if Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is actually closing or not [readers?]. Another ride on the chopping block, and in fact, set to close it’s doors forever tomorrow (Saturday, Sep 27th) is the Studio Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios.
Update: As of October 6th, 2014, Maelstrom is officially closed until it re-opens as the Frozen ride in 2016.
No doubt you’ve heard the news today that Maelstrom is going to be replaced with a Frozen ride. The potentially good news is that Disney used the word “replace” instead of something like “enhance” and the ride will not reopen for at least another 18 months. That means that hopefully we’ll get a major overhaul to house Frozen, instead of the pretty lame enhancement to Pirates, for example, where they just stuck Captain Jack Sparrow in a few random places. At least the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment in Disneyland had a lot of pizazz, so hopefully this will the minimum bar set for Maelstrom.