360 picture in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Pete and I just got back from the most amazing media trip! The new Star Wars Rise of the Resistance ride opened at Walt Disney World on December 5 and I was invited to cover it. Of course, I took my biggest Star Wars fan with me to experience the ride. But there is so much more happening at Walt Disney World that I wanted to share what you can look forward to. Check out 10 NEW things to know about Disney World!

It’s no secret that we’ve been to Walt Disney World too many times to count. We’ve also enjoyed a trip to Disneyland and in June we were invited on our first Disney Cruise. So its safe to say, I’m somewhat of a Disney expert! Whether you are a First Timer, a seasoned Disney traveler, going with your kids, grandkids, friends or just adults – Disney has something for everyone.

We were there this time for four days/three nights and maximized our trip with all the modern conveniences that Disney has to offer. We had the Disney Magic Bands and used the My Disney Experience mobile App which will let you into your Walt Disney World Resort property. In fact, we went straight to our room and let ourselves in with the Disney App! Magic! It also links all of your Memory Maker photographs you take in the parks with the Disney photographers. That’s how we got the amazing 360 photo at the top of this post. I’m detailing everything we experienced and what’s up and coming to Walt Disney World. There are so many changes that you will want to earmark this blog post.

When we do this trip, we find it easiest to take the direct flight from Dallas to Orlando with Southwest Airlines. Once you arrive in Orlando take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express bus transportation. They will pick your bags up from baggage claim and take them directly to your room. Hence the reason why we checked in with the Disney App and went straight to our room. This makes your trip effortless!

Special shout out to Courtnee and her PR team for an amazing media event. And a HUGE thank you to Chris Noveral who was my media representative assigned to me for this trip. He’s a Senior Mechanical Engineer who works on the Disney Design and Engineering Team. In other words, he’s creating the future of Walt Disney World. He was my personal escort and made sure I made it to all my interviews, rides, previews and events.

If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them. Just leave me a comment and I will reply.

xoxo – Tanya (and Pete)

P.S. Leave a comment today and I might be spreading some magic Pixie Dust over one lucky winner!

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10 NEW things to know about Disney World!

Star Troopers inside the Rise of the Resistance ride at Walt Disney World

Tanya Foster standing in front of the Rise of the Resistance ride at Walt Disney World

Star Troopers inside the Rise of the Resistance ride at Walt Disney World

Pete and Tanya Foster inside Rise of the Resistance ride

1. Rise of the Resistance 

The much anticipated ride opened to the public on December 5. We got to enjoy it TWICE on media preview day (December 4) and YES it’s all of that and more! It’s located inside Hollywood Studios, which is one of four Walt Disney World parks. Within Hollywood Studios park is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. That’s where the magic begins.

The journey begins aboard a full-size transport shuttle and continues on a nearby Star Destroyer during a thrilling adventure that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. It is Disney’s most ambitious, immersive, advanced, action-packed attraction and I can tell you it is hard to describe. If you watched me on Instagram stories you know I was having a hard time putting it into words. WOW – just WOW!

We also got to attend the dedication ceremony and official launch where Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek celebrated the opening of the ride with two X-Wing Starfighters rising above the crowd in Galaxy’s Edge. Immediately afterward, there was a private media party throughout Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with food, drinks, entertainment and  fun! Batuu was a magical place that night. You simply have to get there to experience it!

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Millennium Falcon ay Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Drink inside Oga's Cantina at Walt Disney World

Tanya and Pete Foster inside the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride at Walt Disney World

2. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Whether you are a Star Wars fan or not, you will appreciate the amazing details to this NEW land inside Hollywood Studios. I referenced this already in this blog post. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has so much to offer. Have a drink at Oga’s Cantina and listen to the music provided by DJ R-3X, otherwise known as Rex. There are over five locations to purchase food and drinks inside Galaxy’s Edge. Ride the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and try your skill at being a Pilot, Gunner or Engineer. Be sure to have some Blue Milk and Green Milk at The Milk Stand. YUM!

Some other fun facts: The Millennium Falcon is 100% complete and to scale. It’s more than 100 feet long! You can make your own lightsaber inside Savi’s Workshop. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge spans more than 14 acres making it the largest single-themed land expansion in Disney park history. More than 7,000 props were used to make the land. To operate the land, more than 1,700 new jobs were created. Batuu’s landscape really makes you feel like you are part of the story.

Be sure to enjoy this ride cam video of us riding the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Pete is the Pilot and is taking his duties much too seriously. 🙂 Please note that my media representative Chris Noveral (back left) is in the Engineer position and clearly knows what he’s doing!

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new merchandise for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

3. Merchandise

No one does merchandise better than Disney. There is an entire line dedicated to the Rise of the Resistance ride. You’ll find all of the Star Wars merchandise in Black Spire Outfitters and other merchandise carts and stores within Galaxy’s Edge. Be sure to also pop into Creature Stall, Toydarian Toymaker, Jewels of Bith, Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiques, Resistance Supply and First Order Cargo. Go to Savi’s Workshop to build your own light saber and head to the Droid Depot to build a custom droid. I’ve never seen something so spectacular!

Did you know that you can order Disney merchandise online? Just click here to SHOP! INSIDER TIP: It’s a great way to order your Disney merchandise BEFORE your trip so that you have something to wear when you arrive. It’s also a wonderful way to have some Disney merchandise for presents.

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Tanya Foster standing in EPCOT

4. Changes at Epcot

Epcot is undergoing a historic transformation. Some new plans currently under construction will include: The United Kingdom pavilion will welcome its first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. That’s sure to be a huge hit! In 2020, the new “HarmonioUS” fireworks and LED show will debut. This replaces “Illuminations”. Currently, there is an interim show (we got to see it) called “Epcot Forever” which features LED kites and amazing fireworks. In summer 2020, France pavilion will get its much anticipated attraction – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, where guests will race through Gasteau’s Restaurant on a wild adventure. The new restaurant – La Creperie de Paris will also open with celebrity chef Jerome Bocuse. The France pavilion will also have the Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long (which we got to preview). There’s something about the theme song that makes me tear up every time I hear it. Probably because our children were babies when the animated feature came out and we watched it over and over again.

More changes include: Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” will be in one of the pavilions. The iconic Spaceship Earth (one of my favorite rides) will get new narration and music as well as an update. Epcot’s entrance plaza is being transformed with new experiences as well. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be in a whole new world pavilion at Epcot. Mission: SPACE pavilion is getting a new restaurant – Space 220. The PLAY! pavilion will open in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.

WHEW! That’s a lot of new stuff at Epcot!

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new merchandise for Mikey and Minnie's Runaway Railway ride

5. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

There’s a new ride experience currently under constructions in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Those of you familiar with the Great Movie Ride might know that its no longer running. We got a sneak peek of the new attraction – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Guests will burst through the Chinese Theater movie screen and join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and pals on a wacky adventure. It will feature dazzling visual effects, a lovable theme song and more. While there, it was announced that this attraction will open on March 4, 2020! Of course, it has its own merchandise too.

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Toy Story land at Hollywood Studio at Walt Disney World

6. Celebrate 30 years of Hollywood Studios

Can you believe that Disney’s Hollywood Studios marked its 30th anniversary this year? Where does the time go? I remember the park when it first opened and so much has changed. The addition of Toy Story Land with Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania (my favorite ride in this area) has kept the park updated with current movies. We’ve already discussed the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as another huge addition to this park. Did you know that the Hollywood Brown Derby features some of the same menu items, like the original Cobb Salad, as the original Brown Derby restaurant in L.A.? Yep, it’s one of Pete’s and my favorite places to dine in this park in addition to the Sci-Fi Movie Drive In. We ate at both of them on this trip.

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Riding the Walt Disney World SKYLINER

7. Disney’s SKYLINER

There’s a new mode of transportation in town – Disney’s SKYLINER. The arial gondola is the 4th mode of Disney transportation which includes buses, the famous Monorail and boats. Glide across the sky and add an extra dash of pixie dust to your day. This grand, state-of-the-art gondola system conveniently connects Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot to the following Disney Resort hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and the brand new Disney’s Riviera Resort. Guests will enjoy a fun way to travel to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Inside a double bedroom at the Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World

Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World

Riviera Resort stairway at Walt Disney World

Riviera Resort lobby at Walt Disney World

8. Riviera Resort

OH MY GOSH – this hotel! Disney’s Riviera Resort will celebrate the grandeur of Europe—which has long inspired some of the greatest Disney stories with its castles and fairy-tale villages. At the end of each enchanting day, warm and stylish accommodations will welcome you, with a full range of options from cozy Tower Studios to spacious 1-Bedroom Villas, 2-Bedroom Villas and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas. We got to tour the 3-bedroom Grand Villa and I wanted to move in. This is a luxury property for Walt Disney World Resorts that is set to open on December 16. Click here to make reservations.

You will be able to do a character dining experience at Topolino’s Terrace – which is on the top floor of the hotel with spectacular views! I bet you can see the fireworks for some of the Disney parks from the restaurant (wink, wink). This luxury resort is nearest Epcot and is on the new Disney SKYLINER transportation system. You can also take a bus from Riviera Resort to any of the Disney parks.

For more detailed information about this Walt Disney World resort, click here. I bet you know where I’m staying next time!

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Holiday decor at the Magic Kingdom

Mickey ear headbands at Walt Disney World

The front of the magic Kingdom during the holidays

9. Holiday Magic!

While a trip to Walt Disney World is a good idea any time of the year, the holiday season is simply magical! The decor, Christmas trees, flowers, costumes, special treats and events – no one does up like Disney does! Be sure to check out Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party, Candlelight Processional at Epcot, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam Holiday Dessert Party and much more to make your holidays extra special. Click here for more details.

Be sure to check out this blog post from last year where I discovered that it snows on Main Street USA every night in the Magic Kingdom!

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Dole Whip from Walt Disney World

Pete and Tanya Foster in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

10. There’s something for everyone!

Whether you love change or not, Walt Disney World offers something for everyone. For instance, the Dole Whip is a staple photo I get every time I am there. Thank goodness it’s always available at Aloha Isle in Adventureland inside the Magic Kingdom. INSIDER TIP: Although you can find it in other locations, this spot makes the best ones! It’s a delicious treat anytime you are there.

One of the things I love most about Walt Disney World is that no two trips are alike. Disney is the master of reinvention and with all of these updates and changes, you most likely will have a new experience each time you go, yet somehow the things you love most will always be there. We’ve made many treasured memories over the years at Walt Disney World and we plan to make many more. After all, we are kids at heart!

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10 NEW things to know about Walt Disney World _ Star Wars and much more!

 

Thank you to Walt Disney World for gifting this trip. All selections and opinions are my own.

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