Whether you have never been to Walt Disney World or have been numerous times, you are never too old to enjoy the magic of a Disney vacation. I’ve just returned from the most wonderful experience with the Disney team and today I am going to share 10 NEW things that are happening at Disney World.
First of all, THANK YOU to Disney World for having me out for four days and three nights to experience the Walt Disney World Resorts and find out what what’s new. I even got to take a “plus 1” with me and since Pete was busy with work, I invited my good friend and new blogger The Curious Cowgirl to go with me. We had so much fun on this press trip! In addition to sharing what we did, I am going to give you a sneak peek at what’s new and what is coming soon. You will want to earmark this blog post so that you can refer to it anytime.
10 Things to Know about Disney World
1. The Walt Disney World Resorts are the BEST accommodations for many reasons. In all the trips I have taken with my family and friends, we have always stayed at a WDW Resort. In fact, I try to stay at a different WDW Resort each time I go so that I have a new experience. You will want to do this too because you are already on the Walt Disney World property and you receive many benefits. These include: Early Access to FastPass + Planning (60 days in advance), Disney’s Magical Express, Complimentary Resort Transportation, Extra Magic Hours and Disney Dining Plans.
We toured many of the properties on our trip while staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House. Y’all, our room overlooked the savanna and we woke up each morning watching giraffes right outside our balcony! Whether you stay there or not, be sure to dine at Jiko – The Cooking Place (it has the largest African wine list outside of Africa) and have breakfast at Boma. Both are delicious! This resort is closest to the Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the rooms were spacious and amazing.
Depending on the type of trip you are booking, I have several recommendations. Please note that all properties have pools, restaurants, gift shops and many amenities. All Disney properties offer complimentary transportation to the parks, water parks and Disney Springs.
Several families traveling together: Disney’s Wilderness Resort and Campground. This is luxury camping with lots to do. Or as I say “Glamping”. You’ll enjoy archery, movie night with smore’s, visit the stables that houses over 100 horses for all the Disney parks and events and enjoy the American frontier at its best. The resort is 750 acres of pine and cypress forest.
Family trip with small children: Select a property on the monorail – Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Village Resort or Grand Floridian Resort. These resorts are closest to the Magic Kingdom and your little kids will spend the most time in this park. Bonus: Pixar Play Zone just opened in the Contemporary Resort (more information below)
Girls trip: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Copper Creek Villa’s. This is basically a luxury home that can accommodate eight. You have a full kitchen, living room, fireplace and screened in wrap around porch where you can watch the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show overlooking the water. Oh, and there’s a hot tub too!
Themed properties: While all WDW Resorts are themed with every detail thoughtfully planned out, these properties boast bright colors and the best of decades and animation. Considering booking the Disney’s Pop Century Resort (1950’s – 1990’s) or Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. These are both value resorts with beautiful accommodations and amazing pools.
Adults without children: Pete and I both love EPCOT as it offers the most adult things to do. For this reason, you will want to check out Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Boardwalk Resort because you can walk to EPCOT (or take a watertaxi). The added bonus is that there is lots of nightlife at Disney’s Boardwalk. Be sure to check out AbracadaBar and Flying Fish.
NEW! Pixar Play Zone. Y’all this is the BEST deal in all the land. Located inside Disney’s Contemporary resort, this is a new drop off service for your kids ages 4-12. Decorated with “Toy Story” and “The incredibles” in mind, your kids will enjoy lots of fun activities, arcade games, dinner, dessert, a dance party AND a special character visit. Drop off is at 5:00 PM and pick up is at 10:30 PM. All this for only $65 per child. It’s a fantastic way for the adults to enjoy and evening in a park or a lovely meal at one of the fantastic restaurant. Guests can reserve their spot at Pixar Play Zone by calling 407-824-KIDS.
2. Disney MagicBand. This was my first time to use this magical device. The last time I was there in 2012, it was still a card system. The technology is impressive, as the bands doubles as a park ticket, room key, Fastpass+reservation, credit card, dining plan and much more. The idea behind them is to make all aspects of your Disney vacation as seamless as possible. They come in many colors and interact with your Disney World app. Once you have one, you keep it for return visits to Walt Disney World. Magical! In the future, they will also be adding a digital key that you will access through your phone. What will they think of next?
3. Minnie Van Service. Get it? Minivan??? Clever! Even though the Disney Transportation system is the easiest way to get around (Monorail, Buses and water shuttles), the Minnie Van introduces a quick way to take a private car with a well-trained Disney “cast member”. It works through the Lyft app and you can request a Minnie Van anywhere on the Walt Disney World Resort property. In a hurry? Take a Minnie Van!
4. Disney Dining Plans. Whether you want quick and easy or fine dining all the way, Disney offers dining plans that can be linked to your MagicBand making eating one of the easiest things you will do. The picture above is from one of our lovely dinners we had during our stay. This is Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. We had cocktails at Mizner’s Lounge immediately before dinner. Both are exceptional. Be sure to try Ale & Compass over at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort too. The plans come at several price points – Deluxe, Quick-Service and Disney Dining Plan.
5. Special Events. When we were there, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Show was in full splendor. To give you a little taste of how colorful it was, I took my picture with my iPhone. YES! Disney hosts many events in their parks throughout the year including marathons, concerts, Micky’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom (the only time you will see villains), Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party in the Magic Kingdom.
6. Disney photographers. They are EVERYWHERE to capture all your special moments. Bonus: You just swipe your MagicBand and the photo proofs download to your Disney World app. Form there, you can purchase digital downloads or prints. They think of everything!
7. Special Perks! WDW Resort guests are the first to know about special perks like the Ferrytale Fireworks Dessert Cruise. Want to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks in a special setting? Book this special ticket! Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise takes place on select nights. Admission is $99 for adults and $69 for children ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included), and even includes a special take-away surprise. It includes dessert and drinks with a spectacular view of the fireworks. Make your reservations early, it sells out fast!
8. Dole Whip. OK, this is not new but it was new to me. I had never had one in all the times I have gone. Say what? It’s right outside the Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom. O-M-G, its soooo good! I got a pineapple and vanilla swirl in a cup. It’s a soft serve frozen dessert and its dairy free. It’s by Dole, and they know a thing or two about pineapples.
9. Coming attractions. Unless you are living under a rock, you know that Toy Story Land is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The ride, Tory Story Mania has been a guest favorite and often has a long line (hint: get your FastPass early). We got a preview of the entire layout and lets just say, WOW, it’s really spectacular! The entire Toy Story Land will open June 30, 2018.
Is there anything else…. YES! In 2019, they will be adding an entire section on to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Land called Galaxy’s Edge. You will be able to fly the Millennium Falcon, get some Blue Milk at the Cantina and visit Batuu. We saw a partial model but wait for it… There will be a Star Wars themed Hotel and it will have interactive characters. The rooms look like you are on a spaceship and your view out your window will look like space. This is nothing like any other Disney resort and it promises to be out of this world (see what I did there)!
10. Disney Style through ShopDisney! The number one thing you can do to make your experience more “Disney” is to order your clothes and Mickey ears ahead of time so that you arrive in Disney Style. I mixed and matched a lot of my own clothes with the ShopDisney items. Always in theme! And who doesn’t love a Mickey ears headband?
WHEW! That’s my recap. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is always a great idea. I’m ready to go back as each trip is a completely different experience. Click here to book your trip and start a lifetime of memories. When was the last time you had a magical Disney vacation? xoxo – Tanya
P.S. I know I need to get into video content. But until then, please check out my new friend Adam Hattan’s YouTube. He is a Disney master and the nicest guy!
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This trip was provided by Walt Disney World and WDW Resorts. All opinions are my own.