We haven’t had a news update post in a while so I figured it was time for a catch-all news post about the U.S. Disney Parks. By ‘catch-all’ I mean that I’m going to write about the pieces of news that I find interesting. I’m going to go through each park and talk a little bit about what’s going on or coming up there. Some parks I’ll be scrounging for news compared to others. We’ll start on the west coast and move east because that’s the opposite of the sun and if you fly too close to the sun your wings will get burnt off.
The original Magic Kingdom is slowly making its way towards the reopening of the railroad and river this summer. Those are set to open in July and with it will come a slightly reimagined Fantasmic! Disneyland’s Fantasmic! is one of my favorite experiences at any park and new scenes featuring Pirates of the Caribbean and Lion King will keep the show fresh. I’m somewhat sad to see the Peter Pan scene go but I think adding and dropping scenes from a classic show is a really good way to keep it fresh and still a crowd pleaser.
Other newsworthy topics include Pinocchio’s Village Haus being rethemed to the Beauty and the Beast inspired Red Rose Tavern. The food here has drawn rave reviews and the crowds have certainly increased. We haven’t had a chance to try this place out but hopefully one of us (I’m looking at you, Cassie!) will make it there soon! The last bit of news is that the Main Street Electrical Parade has been extended through August. While I think the parade is more than ready to be retired, I’m glad to see it get one last ride into the sunset. I fully expect Paint the Night to take back the Disneyland streets once the Electrical Parade is done. Speaking of, Disneyland’s nighttime entertainment is banking hard on nostalgia right now as Remember… Dreams Come True is the nighttime spectacular. This is my favorite Disney fireworks show I’ve ever seen and I’m glad it was brought back. Summer there should be pretty fun with those two going, as well as Fantasmic 2.0.
Disney California Adventure
Not as much news at Disneyland Resort’s second park. The food and wine festival ends next Sunday and has drawn mixed reviews. Most of the food looks pretty good but the portion sizes don’t match the price. Still, these festivals are a fun addition to DCA where as in Epcot they can just clog the park up.
Of course, there’s also Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! The attraction that replaced Tower of Terror is set to open May 27th. I wrote about it in my recent thematic guide to California Adventure so I won’t rehash it here. If you don’t want to read that novella then my quick take is that I’m very skeptical of how Mission Breakout fits thematically. Who knows though, maybe the attraction will surprise.
Not a lot going on here, even as far as rumors go. Halloween and Christmas Party dates were announced with (Halloween) dates starting in August! I don’t have a huge problem with them being so early outside of Magic Kingdom closing down even more for guests who don’t want to pay extra. We’ll have a guide to the Halloween Party up as the dates get closer.
I believe a makeover of Tomorrowland is coming to Magic Kingdom but nothing has been announced thus far. The D23 Expo in August my be the time that we finally find out more. Until then (if you enjoy following the rumors) keep an eye out on how much Stitch’s Great Escape is open. I think this will be the first attraction to permanently close and be replaced. Stitch is already running seasonally and it’s only a matter of time before it closes down for good.
Nothing much news wise here either outside of rumors. Future World will be redone to some extent by WDW’s 50th anniversary in 2021. A few new attractions in World Showcase, or a brand new country, could come to fruition, as well. WDW Magic forums seem to point to Epcot’s refurbishment being a fluid situation. I would expect at least some plans to be brought up at D23 Expo.
The gondola rumors that I brought up a month or two ago still seem to be moving forward but time will tell.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The big news here is the addition of ‘The Music of Pixar Live!’ for the summer of 2017. This concert will take place nightly at the theater that houses Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage (which will continue to run during the day). The concert will be an orchestra performing some pieces from Pixar’s most memorable soundtracks. There will also be a few characters who come out throughout the show. This starts on May 26th and I’ve yet to see how long the show will run, although I imagine it will last at least through the summer.
I think this new show is step in the right direction for the Studios. The park is in desperate need of things to do and, with this show running 3 times per night, the nighttime lineup here is pretty solid. In fact, if you are planning a WDW vacation I would recommend a half day at the Studios but make it for the afternoon and night. Spend the morning somewhere else and then try to see this show and the Star Wars Fireworks. Fantasmic! is good too but not quite the experience that you get in Disneyland. I’m hoping ‘The Music of Pixar Live!’ becomes a somewhat permanent addition to the Studios, even if it isn’t a smashing success.
Toy Story and Star Wars Land construction continues to progress. I’m sure there will be numerous updates coming in August at the Expo.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
We’ll end with a bang as Animal Kingdom definitely has the biggest upcoming opening. Pandora – World of Avatar is set to open on May 27th. I would guess the land would start soft openings by the start of May. We’ll have a full review of the land by the end of summer.
Pandora is having an effect on the FastPasses here as Animal Kingdom has moved to a tiered system effective when the new land opens. The two Pandora attractions are in Tier A, meaning you can only choose one of them. Then the rest of parks attractions are in Tier B. I think this was a good way for Disney to do this. Speaking for myself, I would FastPass Flight of Passage and then head for Navi River Journey as soon as the park opens. The land will draw big crowds through the summer, as the land looks beautiful and inviting.
Animal Kingdom has been more than deserving of attention for the last few years. Now the park makes a full transition into both a beautiful day and nighttime park. While I’m excited for many things in my upcoming Disney World trips, spending ample time at Animal Kingdom tops the list.
That about does it for this news installment. If I missed something obvious or you’d like to discuss one of these topics more in-depth please let me know in the comments!
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