Category: Disney news

Animal Kingdom nighttime experiences begin May 27

In exactly one week, you’ll be able to experience the magic of nature on display at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at night – for the first time ever. Beginning May 27, the park will awaken at night with new rich experiences under the stars and one day later, on May 28, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic live show will debut at the park.

Beginning May 27, animal spirits will be brought to life each night by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment along with other amazing sights at the tree.

After the sun sets, you’ll also be able to explore Kilimanjaro Safaris and see the nighttime behavior of the wildlife and better tune into the unique vocalization of the animals like never before. Among the new experiences, the village of Harambe in Africa will become the place to enjoy “Wildlife Parti” and the spirited community of Discovery Island will come together to celebrate their love of the natural world with the Discovery Island Carnivale.

And the park’s Discovery River will awaken at night and become a stunning stage for performances of the limited-engagement show The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, inspired by the hit live-action film Disney’s The Jungle Book. Shows will feature memorable moments from the film, including the iconic Shere Khan, and will be filled with music and special effects that celebrate the movie and classic songs, infused with an Indian influence.

FastPass+ and dining packages for Disney’s Animal Kingdom night experiences will become available beginning tomorrow, May 21.

New Olaf Meet and Greet in Disney World

Opening today at the Echo Lake district at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the all-new Celebrity Spotlight, the perfect place for a dream encounter with one of Disney’s latest stars. At opening, you are invited into the Celebrity Spotlight to meet lovable snowman Olaf, from Disney’s blockbuster film “Frozen.” Olaf will be living his dream “In Summer,” chilling on the beach and ready with warm hugs for all his friends.

Be sure to look for Olaf between the Oasis Canteen and Path of the Jedi!  I’m sure he will be quite popular, and there is no fastpass+ currently available, so you may want to head there first thing if this is a priority for you and your family.

Recap of all the Disney World news for April 20th, 2016

Could any of you keep up with all the news released today?  I barely could!  Let’s recap:

Be sure to check out the information from earlier today, including Toy Story Land and Soarin’.

  1.  Star Wars

There’s a lot of fun in store for Star Wars fans this summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Starting this June, fans won’t want to miss the grand debut of a new Star Wars fireworks show, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.” This new nightly show is the next generation of the current Star Wars-inspired fireworks show. It will combine fireworks, pyrotechnics, special effects and video projections that will turn the nearby Chinese Theater and other buildings into the twin suns of Tatooine, a field of battle droids, the trench of the Death Star, Starkiller Base and other Star Wars destinations. The show will be punctuated with a tower of fire and spotlight beams, creating massive lightsabers in the sky. This new show will be the most elaborate fireworks display to take place in the history of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

And don’t forget the live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” debuted April 4, celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.

2.  Jungle Book show replaces delayed Rivers of Light

Starting this Memorial Day Weekend, guests will be able to enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new way – after the sun goes down! Whether it’s riding Kilimanjaro Safaris at sunset, venturing down Kali River Rapids at twilight, dancing alongside African performers in Harambe, or reveling in a live musical celebration of Disney’s hit film “The Jungle Book,” park guests have a lot to look forward to.

“The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” Show – For the summer, Discovery River will become the stage for a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film “The Jungle Book.” “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” is filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.

The Tree of Life Awakens – Disney Parks Blog author Thomas Smith previously shared the first look at this amazing sight, in which the park’s iconic Tree of Life undergoes an extraordinary “awakening.” You can expect to see animal spirits come to life throughout the evening by magical fireflies. Each scene appears to emanate from within the tree itself and reveals stories of wonder.

Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark – Guests can enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris in the evening hours, thanks to special lighting that will allow guests to explore the savanna – and its inhabitants – well into the night.

Harambe Wildlife Parti – Guests can turn into “party animals” at the Harambe Wildlife Parti and enjoy lively African music, exotic foods and drinks, and explore the local marketplace.

Discovery Island Carnivale – On Discovery Island, guests can join the local community in their celebration of their love for nature in this party that features music, dancers, stilt walkers, food and more.

Tiffins – Guests can enjoy the park’s newest eatery, Tiffins, for both lunch and dinner. Check out this previous post for a peek at what to expect from the menu.

Nighttime Attractions – The park’s attractions, which will be operating in the nighttime hours, will take on a whole new life. For the first time, guests will be able to experience the thrill of attractions like Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids – surrounded by darkness. They’ll also be able to enjoy colorful midway games and attractions in DinoLand, U.S.A.

3. Frozen Ever After opens in June

The Frozen Ever After attraction that’s currently being constructed in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot is set to open in June.

Frozen Ever After will take guests on an adventurous boat tour through the kingdom of Arendelle. Once inside, guests will be transported to the “Winter in Summer” Celebration where Queen Elsa embraces her magical powers and creates a winter-in-summer day for the entire kingdom. Guests will pass Troll Valley on their way up the icy North Mountain to Queen Elsa’s Ice Palace, and later on return to the Bay of Arendelle.

4.  “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” opens in June

Beginning this summer, Mickey Mouse and his friends will welcome favorite characters from some of Disney’s newest classics in “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire.” This all-new live stage show makes its debut in June on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage at Magic Kingdom Park, with special appearances by Tiana and Naveen from “The Princess and the Frog,” Rapunzel and Flynn from “Tangled” and Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.”

5. Elena of Avalor debuts at Walt Disney World in August

This August guests at Walt Disney World Resort and will be able to see Princess Elena, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures.

La princesa Elena will debut in the Disney Channel series “Elena of Avalor” this summer. A teenager in fairytale kingdom, Elena adds a new dimension to the Disney-princess world.

Elena will appear this summer in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort.

I know that you are eager to know more about Elena … I know I am! But until we meet her, know that she is a bold, aventurera princess, whose love for her kingdom of Avalor, and most importantly, her familia, fuels her magical adventures.

She is surely una princesa for everyone!

6. Disney Springs to open more than 30 new shops and dining options this summer

This week, Walt Disney World Theme Park Senior Vice President, Jim McPhee conveyed his excitement for the project, confirming the opening of more than 30 new tenant locations by summer’s end. I think it’s clear that everyone here is ready for the debut of Town Center!

Whew!  Is that it?  I think we’ve covered it all!

Update on Toy Story Land

From the Disney Parks Blog

Just minutes ago, we shared a sneak peek of what’s coming to Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including new details on the land’s attractions set to bring the world of Toy Story to life for you and your family.

In Toy Story Land, you’ll find yourself shrunk to the size of a toy to explore the world of Andy’s backyard with your favorite Toy Story characters, including Woody and Buzz. There are two new themed attractions being developed for Toy Story Land.

The first – Slinky Dog Dash – will be a family coaster attraction you’ll want to ride again and again. The attraction features a coaster track that Andy has built all over his backyard using his Mega Coaster Play Kit, but as you know, he has a pretty amazing imagination, so he’s combined it with some of his other toys, according to Imagineer Kathy Mangum. Take a look at a concept video of Slinky Dog Dash that Kathy shared earlier.

On Slinky Dog Dash, you will zip, dodge and dash around many turns and drops that Andy has created to really make Slinky and his coils stretch to his limits.

The second all-new attraction in Toy Story Land will be Alien Swirling Saucers. This attraction is designed as a toy play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first Toy Story film. Aliens are flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw.”

Alien Swirling Saucers in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

As you rotate around the toy planets and satellites as part of the game, you’ll swirl to the beat of fun “Space Jazz” music developed just for this experience, Mangum said. The music, the lighting, and the sound effects will add to the flurry of your adventure while “The Claw” looms ominously over you.

Also today, Mangum shared an update that beginning Memorial Day weekend, even more guests will be able to experience Toy Story Mania with the addition of a third track.

New information for Soarin’ at Epcot


From the Disney Parks Blog

Imagine a wind-through-your-hair flight above The Great Wall of China, a bird’s-eye view of the Sydney Harbor in Australia, gliding around the Matterhorn in Switzerland …

These are among more than a dozen breathtaking ways you’ll be able to experience the wonders of the world when Soarin’ Around the World makes its groundbreaking debut across the globe this summer. The next generation of the popular Soarin’ attraction makes its premiere at the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland this summer as Soarin’ Over the Horizon.

The next day on June 17, guests at Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort and Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort will be able to board the exhilarating aerial adventure that immerses you in a multi-sensory experience, complete with stunning sights, spectacular sounds and even subtle scents. Fastpass+ will be an option for Soarin’ beginning Thursday, April 21.

Adulting at Disney – A Kids Free Guide to the Happiest Place on Earth Part 4: Magic Kingdom

Adulting at Disney – Magic Kingdom

A guest post series by Alyssa Burgess

See also parts one, two and three of this series.

The main park.  The coup de grâce.  Magic Kingdom is where the magic happens.  I’ll be honest with you…This post was a difficult one.  It’s hard for me to write an “adult only” post about Magic Kingdom because, well,  I am an adult and enjoy EVERYTHING in this park.  I even get giddy over the character meet-and-greets.  So, for the purpose of this particular series, I am going to recommend the best attractions and eateries in this park as if I were talking to my boyfriend, whom only has a casual love of Disney, and therefore would not squeal in delight if, for example, he happened to see Peter Pan while out and about in the parks.  Not that I would do that, or anything…bless him, at least he tolerates my obsession.

To get this party started, let’s cover the rides.



  • Haunted Mansion. This ride can be enjoyed by all ages (except maybe for the real little ones, cause it still can be a little scary) but I enjoy it in particular because it’s like a PG version of Tower of Terror (no vertical drops, thank the Lord).  If “Its a Small World” is a 1 and Tower of Terror is a 10, I’d put Haunted Mansion somewhere around a 3 or 4.  However, I scare easy so your experience may vary.

  • Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor. Another attraction that can be enjoyed by all ages, I included this one because humor is ageless.  Also, it’s just really really funny.  The monsters actually interact with the crowd in real time (I can only assume there’s some sort of Wizard of Oz thing going on with a witty cast member behind a curtain with access to a camera and microphone) and you can even submit your own jokes via text as you wait to be seated (no dirty jokes though…lets keep it clean, this is still Disney!)  This attraction is one of my favorites.


  • Space Mountain. To be honest, I only mention this one because I feel morally obligated to. For a very long time, Space Mountain was really the only thrill ride in the Disney Parks. However, this ride has an almost weird reverse-age side effect.  The ride is dark, shaky, and I’ve discovered that the older I get, the less I enjoy this ride.  It messes with my vertigo and gives me a headache…our parents absolutely refuse to ride it anymore because it messes them up big time.  That being said though, it really is a bucket list ride if you’ve never ridden it before.  You have to ride it at least once, just to say you have, because it’s a classic Disney thrill ride.  And after all, you may love it!  Lots of people do, it’s one of the busiest rides in the park!

  • Thunder Mountain Railroad. I think I’ve ridden this ride on every Disney trip, not because it’s a favorite, but because it tends to be one of the few roller coasters in the park that doesn’t have a ridiculous line.  It’s fun, surprisingly smooth for an older coaster, and definitely worth doing at least once.

  • Splash Mountain. I mention this one, even though I’ve never actually ridden it myself, because it’s another ride that tends to be the more popular with the older crowd.  Personally, I avoid water rides.  Yeah, Florida is hot, and yeah that big splash of cool water feels great in the Florida heat…but for all of maybe 5 minutes.  Then you get to walk around in soggy clothes for an hour.  But hey, if that isn’t a big deal for you, then have at it!  I’ll be observing from a safe distance and enjoy it vicariously through others 🙂  If you dare to take the plunge, it might be a good idea to pack a change of clothes for afterwards.  Unfortunately, that’s more stuff you have to carry around all day, but it may be a better alternative than walking around with a soggy butt.  Just sayin’.


  • Be Our Guest (QS and TS). This restaurant is probably the most “adult” of all the restaurants in the park.  The unique thing about Be Our Guest is that it serves breakfast and lunch and is technically classified as quick service for these two meals, however you still get the perks of a table service restaurant because it’s 1. indoors (and freaking gorgeous too, b-t-dubs) and 2. the food comes to you!  Dinner is traditional table service.  Be Our Guest is also the only restaurant in Magic Kingdom that serves alcohol (dinner service only).  Unfortunately, you will still need reservations to eat here, despite two out of the three meals being quick service, because this place is popular.   And rightfully so!  You can eat in 3 different wings, the Grand Ballroom, the West Wing (meticulously decorated by the Beast during one of his many fits of rage), and the calmer and least crowded Castle Gallery.  The ballroom is the most awe-inspiring and beautiful of the 2 rooms, but I recommend the West Wing for adults because it’s darker, scarier, and geared more towards an older crowd.  Even if you decide to dine in the West Wing, you still get to view the beauty of the ballroom – you have to walk through it to get to and from the West Wing.  Make sure to check out the ballroom windows – that’s about the only time you’ll see it snow in Florida!
  • Note: It’s also worth mentioning that you can actually pre-order your food 30 days in advance – this keeps you from having to wade through the busy kiosk section to place your order. We did this in our last trip in January and it was such a pleasant experience!  It was hard deciding what I’d want to eat a whole 30 days in advance, but skipping the ordering kiosk saved a TON of time and frustration.  We checked in with the hostess, who immediately gave us our “rose” (this is their method of finding you once you seat yourself) and off we went to find a table!  Our food was there before our whole party could even get their drinks!

  • Diamond Horseshoe (TS). In the past, the Diamond Horseshoe was only open on extremely busy days.  I have a memory from when we went to Disney in July (I was 14 or 17 at the time, I can’t remember) and I remember eating here.  It’s made to resemble an old time-y saloon where you’ll indulge in “hearty, western fare” family style.  Everyone gets salad and each person gets to order their own entree and dessert.  You can eat as much or as little as you want, and you can even order more if you’re really hungry!


  • Columbia Harbor House (QS, indoors). This is a quick service option located in Liberty Square (near Haunted Mansion) that has some interesting American fare.  This is a great place if you’re a fan of seafood.  You can get an assortment fish here, including fried shrimp and fish or their famous lobster roll.  For you non-seafood eaters, they also have chicken nuggets and a couple different salad options as well.  It’s recommended to try to score a seat upstairs if you can, as it tends to be a little more secluded and has an excellent view.


  • Liberty Tree Tavern (TS). This is another American-style eatery located in Liberty Square.  It’s strongly recommended to have reservations for this restaurant.  Additionally, the menu’s vary greatly based on the time you go.  For lunch, you get a standard menu and each person orders what they want.  However, for dinner, they have a specific menu that’s served family-style, reminiscent of your typical Thanksgiving yummies.


  • Skipper Canteen (TS). Skipper Canteen is one of the newest additions to Magic Kingdom.  Located in Adventureland (near Jungle Cruise), this restaurant is best suited for the adventurous eater.  You’ll get a variety of Asian, African, and South American cuisine here, ranging from 3 different types of rice bowls, falafal, and the more familiar steak or grilled chicken.  If you have a picky eater in your party, it may be a good idea to check the menu prior to arrival to make sure everyone will be happy with their options.

I have a couple quick service places I feel are worth mentioning, even though they aren’t particularly geared towards adults – they’re just goodSleepy Hollow (QS, outdoors, covered patio) is my current quick service of choice when it comes to breakfast in Magic Kingdom.  I recently got to try the fresh fruit and nutella waffle during our trip in January and let me just tell you, it is absolutely as good as it sounds.  Check it out in the picture below:

Friar’s Nook (QS, outdoors, limited seating, covered) is another one of my favorite quick service eateries, purely for their macaroni and cheese.  You can get it plain, or they have seasonal “specialty” mac n’ cheeses.  Currently, the specialty offerings are bbq chicken mac n’ cheese or pot roast mac n’ cheese.  The servings are huge and incredibly filling, so it’s an excellent option for a quick and inexpensive lunch.

Any day at Magic Kingdom would be incomplete without the penultimate activity:  the nightly Fireworks show, Wishes.  Join Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy as they celebrate the power of believing. You will hear a medley of famous Disney songs and the voices of Disney characters in the biggest fireworks extravaganza you could ever imagine.  So grab yourself a good spot and feel like a kid again as fireworks light up the night sky.

Before Wishes, be sure to watch out for the Main Street Electrical Parade.  Dozens of floats wrapped in thousands of bright lights with your favorite characters along with a catchy soundtrack.  It’s a really fun way to end your evening at this magical park!

Speaking of parades, the Festival of Fantasy Parade can’t be missed.  At 3pm every day, the most awe-inspiring floats make their way through the park carrying your favorite characters.  You won’t want to miss Maleficent as the Dragon and Prince Philip’s exciting duel!  Check out our post on this parade here.  Trust me, it’s a must-see.

Just because you’re no longer a kid, doesn’t mean you should skip Magic Kingdom.  It’s iconic!  As you can see, it still has a lot to offer to the older crowd.  And besides, where’s the harm in enjoying a little whimsy?  Don those Mickey ears, wave to Cinderella and friends, and have yourself a good time!

Update on Animal Kingdom nighttime Experiences

From the Disney Parks Blog

With the expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re excited to give Guests even more opportunities to celebrate the magic of animals and nature as day turns into night. While we’d hoped to debut these offerings on April 22, unfortunately, they will not open as planned on that date as we give the team more time to bring these innovative experiences to life in a way we know will exceed our guests’ expectations.

We’ll share more information about timing on the Disney Parks Blog by mid- to late May. We checked in recently during rehearsals of two key elements of the nighttime experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: the dramatic water and light show Rivers of Light, and the new nighttime magic at the Tree of Life.

This image from a recent rehearsal of Rivers of Light illustrates a bit of the beauty and complexity of this innovative blend of water, light and original music that brings with it so many firsts.

This video of the iconic Tree of Life shows how the centerpiece of Disney’s Animal Kingdom will truly come alive with swirling animated imagery that tells enchanting stories from nature.

Always disappointing to see dates pushed back, especially for those planning trips in late April and early May.


Fastpass+ Changes for April 2016

FastPass+ changes coming soon!

Starting April 10, guests will be able to make additional FP+ reservations using their smartphone instead of at one of the kiosks in the park.  Another great change?  They have modified the system to accomodate people with Park Hoppers!  After your first 3 Fastpass+ reservations have been used/expired, you can make a 4th Fastpass+ in the same park or a different park!

Also, when choosing your initial 3 Fastpass+ reservations, you will get to choose the time, rather than being provided times from Disney.  You could always modify those choices later, but when I’m staying up until midnight to get the good passes, that extra step was always a headache.


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Details for 2016

Here Come Mickey and Santa

Start planning for a marvelous gathering with family, friends and some familiar Disney faces!

When Mickey celebrates the season, Magic Kingdom park lights up with excitement for Guests of all ages. Cinderella Castle shimmers. Joyful music fills the air. Disney Characters don their most festive attire. Favorite attractions take on a holiday theme. And enchanting surprises lie around almost every turn!

Keep Reading!

Details for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2016

Explore Magic Kingdom park to collect candies, sweets and all kinds of frightfully delightful treats!

Black cat and cauldron buffs will love the bounty of boo-friendly spirits they’ll discover at the happiest haunted happening on Earth—Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! Each year, Magic Kingdom park hosts grim grinning ghosts, eerie entertainment and Disney Characters that go bump in the night, so you’ll want to start polishing your pumpkins now!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will return in Fall 2016—be sure to check below for dates!

And since the tone of this event is “not-so-scary,” that means children of all ages can enjoy all the fun!

Ticket prices have not been officially announced for 2016, but prices in 2015 ranged from $58-$87 depending on variables such as date of party, child vs adult and DVC/Annual Passholder status.

Continue reading below for updates to the costume policy.

While we encourage creativity, we also value safety and good judgement. Please take a moment to read over our latest rules and regulations:


  • Disney reserves the right to deny admission to or remove any person wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or attire that could detract from the experience of other Guests.
  • All Guests may dress as their favorite character, but may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
  • Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
  • Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  • Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.
  • Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused entry into, and/or removed from, unless his or her costume can be modified to meet the above standards.

For Guests ages 13 and under:

  • Costumes and some masks may be worn, as long as the mask does not cover the entire face and eyes are visible.

For Guests ages 14 and older:

  • Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening.
  • Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground. (e.g. full-length Princess dresses)
  • Capes may be worn if the length does not go below the waist.
  • Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts, and hats are acceptable.
  • Acceptable accessories include: transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords, and tutus. Headwear may be worn as long as it does not cover the face.
  • May not wear masks of any kind.


Details for the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party coming soon!