So, we’re already a month into 2016 (seriously need the world to slow down or I’m going to have to get off), and it’s an exciting time to be a fan of Disney World.
As we continue the trend of growing and expanding at Disney World, there’s so much to look forward to this year. Some things have already opened, others are on their way and even more is coming down the pike in late 2016.
I just wanted to take a moment to go through the five (or maybe six, seven, eight…) things I’m looking forward to experiencing in 2016!
- Soarin’ (over the World!) — The popular Epcot attraction is currently down, and while that sucks for guests visiting in the next couple of months, it’s for the better as when it reopens, it will feature a new film and what we’re being told will be more visually stunning scenes. Instead of just flying over California (as the old Soarin’ did), we’ll now be taking in all the wonderful scenes across the world. I just hope they find a way to keep the orange groves and fresh pine scent and maybe incorporate another memorable smell on the ride.
- Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom — This table-service restaurant has already opened to mixed reviews. Located in Adventureland next to Aloha Isle, it’s themed to the Jungle Cruise ride, complete with the punny puns that we’ve come to know and love on Jungle Cruise. I’m not an adventurous diner, so I consider the menu quite exotic (Disney refers to it as tropical cuisine hitting African, Asian and Latin flavors). I want to visit just to be entertained by the servers and experience some of that Jungle Cruise magic. I guess I’ll just have to settle for a drink and dessert, since nothing on the menu really jumps out at me.
- Animal Kingdom an all-day park?!?!? — OK, confession time. Even though Animal Kingdom is probably my second-favorite park in Disney, I’ve never stayed past 4 p.m. in any of my visits. In fact, we usually leave before 2 p.m. and the only time I ever stayed past 3:30 p.m. was when we got stuck in the parade route and had to wait for it to finish. So, I’m really looking forward to them adding a new nighttime spectacular show and a nighttime Kilimanjaro Safaris ride. With Avatar coming on board (2017?), that could make Animal Kingdom one of those 9-to-9 parks, instead of a half-day park as most people view it now.
- New Star Wars experiences (spoilers ahead, tread carefully) — This is one of those trade-offs. We lose Star Wars weekends (boooooooooo!), but we gain Star Wars experiences, and ultimately an area of Hollywood Studios dedicated to Star Wars. But that Star Wars Land is way down the road, so in the meantime, we have several new Star Wars experiences to look forward to while we wait. One is the new Symphony in the Sky fireworks, which is a fireworks show set to Star Wars music. Another cool thing is meet-and-greet with Ben Solo, I mean Kylo Ren (oops, spoilers!!!!). The Backlot Express has been re-imagined as Star Wars Launch Bay. So many other things are being added, so if you were looking forward to Star Wars weekends, just think of it as a permanent Star Wars weekend experience.
- Downtown Disney transformed to Disney Springs — I’ll be the first to admit that Downtown Disney is not a must-see for me when I visit. In fact, I think the last time I visited Downtown Disney was 2014, and that was JUST to eat at Earl of Sandwich. But there are several new additions to “Disney Springs” that I’d like to experience at some point. I think Jock Lindsay’s Hangar will be fun. I’ve heard nothing but good things about STK. And from what I’ve seen, Disney Springs has made Downtown Disney a lot prettier. I think we’ll definitely have to work in a trip to Disney Springs for our next trip, just to check it out.
- Those darn Frozen twins — This is a tough one for me. On one hand, I really do love Frozen. I love the movie. I love the songs. I love Olaf. I love big summer blowout. But I don’t like the absolute craze caused by the icicle twins Anna and Elsa. Six-hour waits to see them? They better be coming home with me afterwards. And I don’t like that they’re replacing Maelstrom. BUT I am OK with the trade off. Maelstrom will get repurposed to a Frozen ride (hopefully keeping some of the same elements) and the chilly chicks will get their own meet-and-greet area. Hopefully that will lower the wait times (through Disney magic of having more than one Anna and Elsa….shhhhh, don’t tell anyone) and it won’t become an all-day affair to see them. I know, I know, I need to just Let it go!
So, that’s my list. What’s on yours? I didn’t mention Tiffin’s at Animal Kingdom, but is that on your list? I’ll probably never eat there, because I’m just not a fancy-pants foodie, but if it helps alleviate some of the strain on the limited table-service options at AK, I’m all for it. Anything else I missed? Just comment and let’s get a fun discussion going.
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