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Tips & News — Resorts

Rumored Announcements At This Weekend's D23 Expo

Rumored Announcements At This Weekend's D23 Expo

Disney's D23 expo will take place this weekend in Anaheim and, as always, the rumor mill is swirling. Every other year, Disney execs host the D23 expo to make announcements and showcase their upcoming plans. Let's take a look at some potential big news dropping this weekend.

Toy Story Land

Rumor has it we'll be getting a firm date for the opening of Toy Story Land inside Hollywood Studios within the next 10 months. More information on retail and dining options is also expected. If you haven't seen it yet, here's a look at the recent construction progress and the official logo!

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WDW Gondola System

This is now less of a rumor considering construction has already begun at Epcot's International Gateway.  Disney is expected to release more specifics around the timeline for its opening. The route has already been confirmed and will connect Epcot, Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, Art of Animation and Hollywood Studios.

Star Wars Land

Currently a simultaneous build going on at Disneyland and Hollywood Studios, Disney is likely to drop some specifics around these two huge expansions. Both are scheduled to open in 2019 with Disneyland finishing first and Hollywood Studios wrapping up later in the year. Although these are expected to be extremely similar, the biggest difference is the rumored boutique hotel at the Hollywood Studios land. Will we be getting confirmation on this hotel this weekend at D23? Let's just wait and see!

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The Great Movie Ride or The Great Mickey Ride?

Although the The Great Movie Ride is one of my absolute favorite classics at Hollywood Studios it is rumored to be next in line for replacement. Yes, it will most likely be closed within the next year and a new very similar experience based solely around Mickey Mouse will be taking its place. "The Great Mickey Ride" is rumored to be opening in California Adventure, as well. It is supposed to showcase trackless ride technology and projection mapping. Hopefully we'll get a confirmation and some specifics this weekend.

Here's a shortlist of other rumors swirling around Disney these days. Little to no information can be confirmed just yet.

  • Moana-themed attraction in Adventureland
  • Tron-themed attraction in Tomorrowland replacing the Speedway
  • Ratatoullie ride coming to the France pavilion at Epcot
  • Guardians of the Galaxy attractions coming to Future World at Epcot
  • Zootopia retail, dining and meet-and-greets in Animal Kingdom
  • Brazil pavilion coming to Epcot

The D23 Convention begins this Friday, July14th and ends Sunday the 16th.

Walt said it himself that the parks will never truly be finished!

What changes are you most excited about? Are there any you are disappointed about?

Which Resort is the Perfect Fit for Your Next Trip?

Grand Floridian Resort

If you’re planning a trip to Disney World and you don’t live near the parks, chances are you’re going to be booking a hotel for your stay. There are 30 official Disney resorts to choose from and many more “Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels.” I’ve taken both routes for my trips. In fact, I had never stayed at a true Disney Resort until last year! While the good neighbor hotels can be right depending on the situation, I would definitely encourage you to stay at a Disney Hotel. The many benefits and endless magic of these hotels make it worth the higher price tag.

What benefits, you ask? Convenience. I can’t stress this enough. If you plan on going to multiple parks, Disney Springs, or want to explore the other resorts, staying at a Disney Resort is so worth it! There's free transportation to and from everything on the Disney property. Talk about staying stress-free on your vacation. These resorts also accept the Disney Dining Plan, serve your favorite park foods (Mickey Waffles anyone?), and sell official park merchandise.

To top it off, each resort has a specific theme! Whether you’re wanting a beach trip or feel like staying in N'awlins (New Orleans), you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for the ultimate convenience:

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Staying on the boardwalk is a must if you love Epcot! You can walk right from your hotel directly into the park in a few minutes. Check out Disney’s Beach Club Resort to get the best of both worlds – the beach and the parks! Another great option for all you SPG members are the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels. We just stayed in the Dolphin (hello SPG points) and loved it! I can’t tell you enough how great it is to walk up to Epcot and sneak right in beside our favorite French restaurant. If you’re wanting to stay as close as you can to Magic Kingdom, book your stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

If you’re looking for the top of the line:

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Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. This place is serious hotel goals. Modeled after the famous Hotel Del Coronado, this lavish resort will have you never wanting to leave. Ever. Looking for more of an island vibe? Check out Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. This place is luxurious and relaxing. Directly across from Magic Kingdom, you can watch the fireworks every night from either of these resorts.

If you’re looking for the “nature” feel:

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge lets you stay literally in Animal Kingdom. These rooms overlook 4 savannas filled with animals from the wild. Where else can a giraffe walk feet away from your hotel balcony? This one is for sure on my bucket list. Now for those of you into the camping scene, the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort may be the perfect fit! Your family will stay in its own personal cabin surrounded by nature. It’s a great option if you’re looking to escape to peace and quiet after those long exhausting days in the parks.

If you’re looking to experience the magic for less:

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Disney’s All-Star Resorts give you all of those official perks without that sometimes heart-stopping price. You should also check out Disney’s Pop Century Resort and the Art of Animation Resort. There are a lot of options if you’re looking to have a lower budget for the lodging. They may not be across the pond from Magic Kingdom but you’ll still have free bus transportation. If your mentality is that you’ll be spending all of your time in the parks each day, then this may be the perfect fit for your trip!

Of course there are many more options to choose from when you’re deciding where to stay. You can go to Disney’s website for pricing and rates on vacation packages!

Have a favorite Disney resort? Let us know what makes it your top pick!

*All pictures taken from https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/

9 Tips for Visiting the Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World

1.     Get there early

Watching the rope drop or the opening ceremony take place right outside the railroad station is the perfect way to kick off a day at Magic Kingdom! You may not usually be a morning person on vacation, but it's definitely worth waking up an hour early. Another benefit of arriving early? The crowds (or lack there of)! The crowds do not begin to show up until late morning so an early arrival can help you get on your favorite rides and into the shops while the lines are still somewhat short.

2.     Catch the early entertainment

A lot of the best entertainment on Main Street takes place earlier in the day. If catching the Casey's Corner piano player or a performance by the Dapper Dans interests you then be prepared in the early morning. The exact times can be found in Time Guides. You can pick these up along with a map on your way into the park.

3.     Make Fastpass+ choices before you arrive

Making Fastpass+ selections before you arrive is a must, and is especially important if you are planning on riding popular attractions. For example, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is one attraction in particular that you can almost guarantee will not have Fastpass+ availability if you're checking your My Disney Experience App on the day of. Making these selections in advance is a must! Plus, you want to be enjoying the park, not on your phone all day!

4.     Make dining reservations in advance

Similar to Fastpass+, making dining reservations well in advance is highly encouraged! Some of the more popular restaurants at Magic Kingdom book up almost immediately after reservations become available. There are definitely great food stations throughout the park if you want to keep a flexible schedule. However, if you're considering Be Our Guest, Cinderella's Royal Table or Crystal Palace, you'll need to book as early as possible. If table service isn't your style, you can also research the quick service options before hand to help save some time on your trip!

5.     Meet & greets with your favorite characters

The meet and greets with characters are a must. Why? Because it is an amazing experience! How often do you get to hang out with Punzi and Princess Aurora?! You can use your Time Guides and map to find when and where your favorite character will be stationed. Like always, plan ahead and go meet some characters!

6.     Find all the best photo ops

This can be so much fun and add a little bit of unexpected adventure to your day. Everyone has pictures in front of Cinderella's Castle. Magic Kingdom is a huge beautiful space. Find places somewhat less traveled and you'd be surprised by a unique backdrop waiting to be captured. These also make for the best memories when looking back on your trip.

7.     Relax at the nearby resorts

If you are traveling with young children, you may have to take a midday break. Most people use this as an opportunity to go back to their hotel room and relax, however, depending on where you are staying that can be a complicated hike. Many of the resorts close to Magic Kingdom are a very short monorail ride away and offer some great amenities! Swing by the Grand Floridian - it is an absolutely break taking resort. You can hangout in a nice restaurant and grab a snack, look in some shops, or hang out in the vast lobby. This could be a great opportunity to relax and recharge the batteries.

8.     Get to parades early to grab a spot

If catching the parades are a priority for you, then you'll want to start camping out a little early. A lot of guests start picking spots up to an hour before the start of a parade. I'd advise to grab a spot, send someone to go pick up some snacks (A Mickey Pretzel is always a great choice) and have some lunch while you wait for the parade to begin.

9.     Must stay for the fireworks

This is an absolute must for any guest attending the Magic Kingdom. "Wishes" is a spectacular nighttime show that lights up the sky over Cinderella's Castle. Find a spot in front the castle or down Main Street for the best views and then sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

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