Are you a fan of Disney? Is it more than a casual like and more of a healthy obsession with the happiest place on earth? Do you love all things Disney and stalk D23 announcements every year to know what new and exciting things to look forward to at Disney in the upcoming year? Do you think Millennial Pink Celebration Toast is the best thing ever? You are not alone.
There were so many amazing things that happened with Disney this year that it really is hard to pick our favorite Disney things that happened in 2018. The thing is that Disney is not one place or thing, it is so many little things that touch our lives every day beyond the parks, the resorts, the movies, the characters and even the Mouse.
If you are a Disney fan, you know that the Disney legacy started with Mickey Mouse in 1928 but has grown into so much more pixie dusted magic since then. Walt Disney was a man with big dreams and when he started Disney he created a brand that would touch the hearts of souls of millions of families from all over the world. His shining example has taught us all that we should dream bigger.
Located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the new 11-acre Toy Story Land brings to life all the magic and fun of the animated “Toy Story” franchise. Inspired by Andy’s backyard from the films, guests “shrink” to the size of a toy and set off for thrills and laughs on three signature attractions. A family family-friendly coaster called Slinky Dog Dash. Seems Andy has assembled his roller coaster kit for maximum fun by instead of just using the roller coaster that came with it, he's put his Slinky Dog on the track.
The Alien Swirling Saucers attraction where guests can get ready for out-of-this-world thrills because the Aliens have powered up their flying saucers. Last but not least, Toy Story Mania! , one of the most popular attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, got a colorful new entrance.
Did we mention that there is even a Toy Story themed restaurant called Woody’s Lunch Box?
Speaking of Toy Story, this year Disney announced that next year Toy Story 4 will be in theaters. Woody and the rest of the toys are back for an all-new adventure in “Toy Story 4,” welcoming new friends to Bonnie’s room, including a reluctant new toy called Forky.
We all assumed that Toy Story 3 was the end of the franchise and it was the end of Woody’s story with Andy. But just like in life, every ending is a new beginning. Woody’s in a new room, with new toys, and a new kid. It’s not what we expected but we are here for it. Are you?
Image: iStockPhoto / :philinnz4
This year, Disney unveiled “Minnie” Vans that can transport guests to various places around the Walt Disney World property. These aren’t your mom’s “minivan.” This fleet of colorfully decorated, Disney-operated vehicles is 100% inspired by the red and white polka-dot dress made famous by Minnie Mouse. The service is a new way guests can travel conveniently around the 40-square-mile resort.
The Minnie Van service is accessible via the Lyft app. A Minnie Van usually arrives within a few minutes.
Each Minnie van holds up to six passengers and comes equipped with two children’s car seats. Vans can also accommodate guests with wheelchairs and motorized vehicles (though you may have to wait a little longer for one of these).
Minnie Vans are a convenient and quick way to travel across Walt Disney World Resort. Minnie Van drivers are Disney cast members who are knowledgeable and friendly, ensuring guests get where they need to go safely and easily so aside from the convenience you can look forward to that Disney customer service we all have come to know and love.
Why should the kids have all the fun? We’ve all taken our kids to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and saw the expression of pure magic when they’ve turned around and seen their own transformation into their favorite princess. Now, adults can have that same magical moment of their own.
From Ursula and Bambi to Cinderella and Minnie Mouse, guests can now indulge in an array of custom character-inspired makeovers at salons across Walt Disney World Resort. Disney’s new Character Couture packages offer sophisticated hairstyles, as well as detailed makeup and nail designs inspired by Disney characters.
Makeovers are available for guests ages four and up. And with a little pixie dust, style options are limitless at a Disney salon. An out-of-this-world galactic transformation inspired by Star Wars characters, a regal style befitting a Disney Princess, or a spooky-yet-glamorous look inspired by a Disney Villain are just a few of the possibilities.
When you were a little girl did you dream of the whole princess fairytale wedding? I think most little girls do. And what would make it more romantic than to get married at the most magical place on earth? Nothing, that is what.
With magical locations inside theme parks and across the resort, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons already offers many options to make the most important day of your life unforgettable but they’ve added yet another place to say I do. The Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the newest romantic venue available to happy couples looking to “tie the knot” at Walt Disney World Resort. There is something so sweet about the thought of starting your life together in front of a tree that symbolizes the beginning of all life.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is completely different than any other theme park because it focuses on exploration. Not just around the world but to the depths of your imagination. On any given day, you can visit the snowy peaks of Mt. Everest, take a raft down a rainforest river, go on a safari on the African Savannah or even travel to another planet where mountains float. If you’ve been to Pandora you know that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is fast becoming one of the most magical places of all.
On Earth Day 2018, Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrated its 20th anniversary in a ceremony marking two decades of magical adventures and unforgettable experiences. I love the idea of a park that spreads the message that our lives are part of something bigger and more meaningful than ourselves.
A new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure, debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the parks 20th anniversary! Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry pal Dug from Disney/ Pixar’s animated film UP joined bird experts on a new adventure featuring encounters with birds from around the world. What could be a more fitting way to pay homage to Ellie and Carl and their dream of Paradise Falls?
The new 25-minute show includes 15 species of birds from around the world, including toucans, parrots, macaws and even an African fish eagle. The show is led by avian enthusiast and bird experts, involved twenty animal trainers to train the birds to get them onstage and requires four trainers to work with the birds and actors during each performance. The goal is to inspire guests to remember to connect with nature.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts returned in 2018 featuring Broadway performers, incredible artists, workshops and amazing food. That’s not all, it’s coming back in 2019 too.
The festival will launch its annual celebration beginning Jan. 18. and will continue for 39 days through Feb. 25, 2019, with more live music, food and artwork than ever.
New for 2019, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series will expand to seven days a week during the festival. Each week, different pairs of Disney on Broadway stars will take the America Gardens Theatre stage to sing favorite songs from award-winning Disney on Broadway productions. The lineup will rotate featuring music from shows such as “The Lion King,” “Frozen” and “Beauty and the Beast. The concert series is included with park admission; show times are 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. nightly.
In addition to the concert series, the Festival will feature 13 Food Studios, plus additional creative food and beverage offerings around Epcot. It is definitely worth scheduling your trip to Disney around this time, especially if you love Broadway, art and food!
The Frozen Ever After Dessert Party replaced the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party. It’s simple, Frozen themed desserts and beverages including delicious treats such as Olaf’s Warm Double Chocolate S’mores Pudding Cake, Anna’s Blue Velvet Cupcakes, and Sven’s Fresh Fruits & Berries.
Who doesn’t love watching Illuminations from a dessert party with guaranteed seating? Anyone who has ever walked around the Disney parks all day knows that by the time the fireworks begin you want nothing more to do than to sit down with your loved ones, be in the moment and soak up all the magic.
Why not satisfy your sweet tooth during a water-side viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth? But you better do it before the show is gone for good at the end of summer 2019.
Best of all, after IllumiNations, guests can ride Frozen Ever After in Norway, without having to use a FastPass!
Anyone who traditionally celebrates the holidays with the Nutcracker ballet was thrilled to see Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms come to life on the big screen in 2018. It was visually stunning, put a twist on an old plot and brilliantly brought the beloved characters we’ve grown to know over the years to life. Bonus, it even included exquisite Misty Copeland on pointe for some of that Nutcracker ballet nostalgia.
Just squeaking in before the end of the year, Mary Poppins Returns is premiering. If you were a fan of the original Mary Poppins when you were a kid, you are going to fall in love with Mary all over again. Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light and life to the streets of London.
That's not all, there are many more live action films scheduled for 2019. Stay tuned.
Image: Disney Pixar
Disney Cruise Line announced that their fleet will grow from four to seven ships by 2023 as it has ordered three ships with the first to arrive in 2021. If you’ve ever been on a Disney Cruise you know that there is nothing like it. It is truly the poshest and most relaxing vacation that a family can take. Take all the magic and wonder of a Disney vacation and sprinkle it with being disconnected and able to focus on the people and things right in front of you that matter most.
The new ships expected to arrive in 2021, 2022 and 2023 will look very similar to Disney's current fleet. They'll be elegant and romantic with a nod to the golden age of ocean cruising. The new ships are expected to offer more innovation, new technologies, spectacular entertainment and more Disney stories and characters than ever before.
They'll be powered by liquefied natural gas, which is the cleanest fuel the cruise industry has begun to embrace.
What? Only the truest of Disney fans know what Club 33 is and now it’s come to Walt Disney World with not one but multiple lounges across the parks. The elite restaurant and bar hidden within Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, Club 33 is an extension of the original legendary private membership club founded by Walt Disney himself at Disneyland Resort.
Club 33 membership is still exclusive but now with more locations, which means more opportunities for membership if you can afford it. The initial price to join is $33,000 and the annual membership fee is $15,000. But can you really put a price on happiness? We just love knowing that Club 33 has made it to our beloved Disney World, even if we’ll probably never get to set foot inside.
Image: Instagram / @_myrtlethetyrtle_
Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure traded in its seaside roots for a full-on Pixar re-imagination including an Incredibles-themed roller coaster, the Incredicoaster, replacing the California Screamin’ roller coaster and adding character enhancements to the iconic Mickey’s Fun Wheel.
The new land, Pixar Pier, also includes new retail locations, midway games and entertainment honoring all things Pixar. Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind is set to Open in 2019 along Pixar Pier. There will be four neighborhoods to discover at Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure Disney park; Incredibles Park, Toy Story Boardwalk, Pixar Promenade and Inside Out Headquarters.
Disney is in the process of, literally, building the coolest thing sliced bread and sliced bread is pretty cool. In 2019, the Star Wars experience at Walt Disney World Resort will make the jump to hyperspace with the addition of the all-new land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
At over 14-acres in size Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be the largest single-themed expansion ever added to a Disney theme park. The massive new land will transport you to Batuu, a never-before-seen planet (a remote trading port that acts as one of the last stops before wild space) where Star Wars characters and stories come to life.
We realize that you’re all super excited and the wait is killing you but you can get your Star Wars fix right now. In 2018, guests could immerse themselves in live entertainment, themed fireworks and snap photos with their favorite villains, Jedi and droids aboard special Star Wars Day at Sea sailings on Disney Cruise Line.
If you aren’t already familiar with Adventures by Disney, you should be. It is a completely hassle-free, guided group vacation where your family becomes part of the story as you are immersed in the people, places and cultures of wherever the adventure takes you. You show up and participate and leave all the minute details to Disney.
Short Escapes are two- to four-night adventures in iconic destinations that can be booked as stand-alone getaways or as add-ons to other vacation plans. Combining visits to must-see attractions with hands-on activities and opportunities to discover hidden gems. These itineraries are founded on enriching, authentic experiences and bolstered by signature Disney storytelling, VIP service and special access. Two knowledgeable Disney-trained Adventure Guides ensure guests enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime vacation from start to finish.
The new Short Escape itineraries offer endless opportunities for families to soak in every moment in these incredible cities. Boston, London and Vancouver were added to the itinerary.
Credit; Disney / The Lion King
Walt Disney Resorts announced in early 2018 that it was expanding its resort perks to guests at Disney Springs seven official resort area hotels. Now, if you’ve never stayed off on grounds you might not appreciate these perks but if you have, you definitely will.
Everybody knows about Disney’s world-renowned customer service that guests receive at Disney parks and restaurants but did you know that there are special perks given to those staying at the resorts too. Some of these perks are new exclusive theme park perks including extra magic hours access and guests who purchase a Walt Disney Travel package can book fastpasses 60 days in advance, which is a huge convenience.
We were thrilled to see Coco come to Disney’s California Adventure Park. Plaza de la Familia is an immersive event at Paradise Garden’s Park that honors eternal family bonds, like those exemplified in the popular animated Disney Pixar film Coco. The Plaza de la Familia features song-and-dance performances, Mariachi music, a Tree of Life photo location and The World of Coco exhibit and a muy delicioso Mexican menu.
The musical celebration of Coco allows guests to watch songs from Coco come to life through performances by the Storytellers of Plaza de la Familia, storyteller/singer Mateo, a folklórico dance ensemble, the GRAMMY® Award-winning Mariachi Divas and traditional tunes will stir the cockles of your heart with this heartwarming salute to family. Miguel even makes a whimsical, handcrafted cameo inspired by Mexican folk art.