Last week as part of the Disney Dream Christening Cruise event, I had the honor of attending a media briefing in the Magic Kingdom. Last spring I was excited to be able to tell you about the upcoming Disney Dream, the Fantasyland Expansion, Mobile Magic, and the Summer Nightastic at Walt Disney World, and I left this press event feeling just as excited and energized. What did I learn?
The construction that will essentially double the size of the Magic Kingdom’s current Fantasyland continues with a variety of updates. For starters, there was no mention made of the Disney Fairies who appear to have flown the coop. Word on the street is that they will be moving, possibly temporarily, to EPCOT during the continued renovation of what is currently Pixie Hollow under the big top. What will take their place? Plans continue for an interactive queue that leads to TWO Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides. For any parent who has stood in the snaking thirty minute long line to ride Dumbo for just moments, this is magic in the making! Where will the princesses reside? Princess Fairytale Hall will be created in the current home of Snow White’s Scary Adventure. I’m thrilled about their new proximity to both Cinderella’s Castle and the Fairytale Garden where guests can currently meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. If you’re a Snow White fan, have no fear! Well….maybe just a little fear because the Fantasyland Expansion includes plans for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a new roller coaster in the same vein (get it…mining…vein…) as Thunder Mountain Railroad with first of its kind technology allowing the mine cars to swing back an forth as they fly around the track. Plans are also on track to create Belle’s village complete with Gaston’s Tavern and Be Our Guest restaurant. For those of you missing Ariel, the Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid continues to be a key component of the new Fantasyland. I was most excited to hear about the upcoming plans for the current Goofy’s Barnstormer in Toontown, set to close next month. The roller coaster will remain under the new Storybook Circus Theme of the former Toontown and will be called The Great Goofini! I can’t wait!
Aulani: Disney Resort and Spa, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Last September I wrote about Disney’s Art of Animation Value Resort, and I’m happy to report that last week we received an update that construction is continuing as planned on this economical choice for families visiting Walt Disney World. With more than 1,000 family suites, Disney’s Art of Animation will be the perfect choice for families of four or more wanting the Disney Resort experience without the Disney suite price. For those of you waiting to hear about the Aulani: Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, you’ll be excited to hear that the first phase will be open this August!
Star Tours at Hollywood Studios
Many of my close friends are huge fans of Star Wars and have been wondering when Star Tours would re-open at Hollywood Studios. Good news! Star Tours is scheduled to open May 20th, just in time for the first of this summer’s Star Wars weekends.
Let the Celebration Begin
This year’s celebration theme for Walt Disney World is Let the Celebration Begin, and I was thrilled to be in the crowd as Disney Imagineers debuted the new castle show, “The Magic, the Memories, and You!” Featuring photos taken throughout the day at the Magic Kingdom by PhotoPass Cast Members, this incredible show combines original music, first of its kind technology, and some Disney magic that fans have come to expect to create the best Magic Kingdom show I’ve experienced thus far. Check out the World Premiere below: