Thursday, November 15, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

15 Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World This Year

Thinking about a trip to Walt Disney World? With so many new attractions and events coming to the Disney parks and so much to do, this is the year to make it a reality. Whether this will be your first trip to Walt Disney World or you’re a returning fan, there’s no better time to visit.
 

If you still need a little convincing, here are 15 reasons to visit Walt Disney World now.
 
1    Toy Story Land is here!

After much anticipation, this brand new expansion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened June 30, 2018. Andy and his friends welcome visitors to a play in Andy’s backyard, ride the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster, spin on the Alien Swirling Saucers, and more. Grab a bite at Woody’s Lunch Box, which is actually designed as Andy’s lunchbox turned on its side. Oversized Tinkertoys, crayons, Cooties, and blocks are all included in the themed area to make guests feel “toy size.”
 
Toy Story Land Is Coming
 
2    Return of the Night Parade?

Rumor has it that the Paint the Night Electrical Parade that formerly appeared at Disneyland (but was packed away in fall of 2016) is being shipped out. Although Disney is keeping a lid on it, best bets are on its coming to Disney World in fall of 2018 or spring of 2019. It’s past time for a replacement for the decommissioned Main Street Electrical Parade and Disneyland has a spare!
 
Return Of The Night Parade?
 
3    Beat the crowds

The anticipated 2019 opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is expected to attract record numbers of visitors. A Tron roller coaster is coming to the Magic Kingdom. New Ratatouille and Guardians of the Galaxy themed attractions are expected to come to Epcot. The plethora of updates and new attractions leading up to Disney’s 50th anniversary is guaranteed to have the parks bursting at the seams in the near future.

Of course, Walt Disney World is always popular and busy, but the lines are shorter and the crowds a little less pressing this year. So, if Star Wars is not on your must-see list, plan an earlier arrival to see all the new and classic attractions before the flood.
 
Beat The Crowds
 
4    Great new restaurants

Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) is upping its dining game with eight new restaurants. We’re excited to try them all!

Wine Bar George, led by Master Sommelier George Miliotes and offering over 100 wines and shareable plates, opened in the Spring of 2018 as the only wine bar in Florida headed by a Master Sommelier. Sample hand-picked wines, offered by the glass, bottle, or even by the ounce! Late night bites and sips are available until midnight (2am on Friday and Saturday). They even accept some Disney dining plans!

Chef José Andrés will bring his renowned Jaleo restaurant to Disney Springs, opening a multi-level location that features an expansive tapas menu that will allow guests to explore the flavors of both contemporary and traditional Spanish cuisine. A hiring event is scheduled at the beginning of October, so you can expect the food and drink to be flowing before Thanksgiving.

The Edison, featuring American cuisine and craft drinks, also offers unique live entertainment. Think live cabaret, contortionists, and aerialists, as well as DJs, all set in a 1920’s-themed space described as “industrial gothic.” Grab dinner with the kids or enjoy adult time, with a dress code and 21 and up restriction after 10pm.

Portobello Country Italian Trattoria has been replaced by Terralina Crafted Italian. Need more Italian options? Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante serves up Sicilian-inspired cuisine with views of Lake Buena Vista while Pizza Ponte offers Sicilian pizza by the slice. Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar has a speakeasy vibe, featuring Prohibition era cocktails.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is planned to open in the Town Center area, replacing the previous Puck location that closed last summer. The renowned chef is bringing his signature laid-back California cuisine to a brand new location. Hiring is going on right now, so opening should be just around the corner.
 
Great New Restaurants
 
5    Dessert, anyone?

Yes, please! Epcot debuted the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party this past summer. Guests can enjoy dessert while viewing Illuminations from a seated viewing area. Frozen themed desserts and drinks such as Anna’s Blue Velvet Cupcakes, Olaf’s Warm Double Chocolate S’mores Pudding Cake and Sven’s Fresh Fruits & Berries will satisfy your sweet tooth. After Illuminations, you can ride the Frozen Ever After dark water ride in Norway without using a FastPass.
 
Dessert, Anyone?
 
6    Pandora – The World of AVATAR becomes accessible

This area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened last year to enormous crowds clamoring to explore the amazing world of Pandora. It reached the point of two hour waits for Flight of Passage and it was virtually impossible to adopt a banshee at the Rookery at Windtraders to perch on your shoulder. Now that the initial demand has died down, you’ll be able to enjoy the Pandora experience at a more leisurely pace.
 
Pandora   The World Of AVATAR Becomes Accessible
 
7    Money saving

One thing is inevitable – prices always go up. The cost of passes only increases over time and this is especially true when there are so many new attractions and upgrades planned. And, with the slight lull in visitors this year, Disney is offering discounts that are rarely available. You’ll never get a better deal than in 2018.
 
Money Saving
 
8    Minnie Vans

This new transportation option is a collaboration between Lyft and Disney. You can use the Lyft app to call for your private service and a Disney Cast Member will pick you up. Up to six passengers can ride throughout the Disney Resort in these cute, custom-painted vans, for a flat one-way rate. (currently $25). They even come equipped with up to two child car seats, making them a great choice for families with young children. A pilot program for transportation to and from the airport began in January, so it’s likely that it will be fully available later in the year.
 
Minnie Vans
 
9    Everything Old is New Again

Oldies but goodies have gotten fresh updates.

Some perennial favorites have updates scheduled for early in 2018. Pirates of the Caribbean reopens with new characters and scenes in March 2018. The refurbished Liberty Square Riverboat will reopen in July 2018. Splash Mountain has had a six-month refurb and is ready for visitors.

Mission: SPACE in Epcot debuted a new family-friendly Green mission that showcases views of Earth from space, including Hawaii, the Northern Lights, the boot of Italy, and more. New seating allows younger astronauts to ride on this one. The Orange Mission, a more intense experience allowing riders to feel the actual force of a space launch, has been enhanced with new HD video.
 
Everything Old Is New Again
 
10    And there’s always something new

New attractions and shows are always appearing. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is a new virtual reality experience in Disney Springs. An UP-themed show is planned for Animal Kingdom, featuring Russel and Dug. A DJ-hosted dance party, The Incredibles “SUPER” Dance Party, will debut in Summer 2018 in Tomorrowland and is sure to be a winner with kids and tweens.
 
And There's Always Something New
 
11    One time is not enough

The Walt Disney World Resort covers an area the size of San Francisco – 40 square miles! With four major theme parks and two exhilarating water parks, you’ll want to visit Walt Disney World more than once! You simply can’t see everything in the Walt Disney World parks in a single visit.
 
One Time Is Not Enough
 
12    Nothing Lasts Forever

The parks are continually adding new rides and shows and retiring old ones. So you want to catch retiring attractions as well as being among the first to see new ones. Stitch’s Great Escape and La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil both closed in 2017 to make way for new attractions. There’s often little notice of projected closure dates, so see your favorites now.
 
Nothing Lasts Forever
 
13    Annual events you don’t want to miss

Special events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are great chances for a low-key visit with younger children. Meet and great favorites characters and celebrate the holidays with a little less stress.

For adults, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival in the spring and the Epcot Wine & Food Festival in the fall are favorites. And an excuse to wander aimlessly with a glass of wine in your hand, enjoying the Florida sunshine, good food, gorgeous flowers, and more. The Epcot Festival of the Arts is expanding after its great success in 2017.

And for all of us nerds of all ages, various Star Wars events make any time during the year a good time to visit. From Star Wars: Galactic Nights to a Star Wars Weekends to a Star Wars Half Marathon, you can get your Star Wars fix throughout 2018.
 
Annual Events You Don't Want To Miss
 
14    It’s a great value

Walt Disney World will give you and your family more entertainment value than just about anywhere else. The four parks offer 46 rides (and counting!), dozens of shows, music, festivals, and more. All for the single price of admission. Catch a deal on resort accommodations and you’re set!
 
It's A Great Value
 
15    Because there’s nothing like Disney magic

Whether you’re coming to celebrate a milestone birthday, for a fabulous family vacation, your honeymoon, or maybe to scratch an item off your bucket list, Disney is the place to make dreams come true. You’ll reawaken your childhood sense of wonder, create memories to last a lifetime, and find exactly what you’ve been looking for in a vacation.
 
Because There’s Nothing Like Disney Magic
 
There’s a reason why Walt Disney World is the number one theme park in the world. Nobody does it better when it comes to creating an enchanting world that is fun for everyone. And with all the exciting new attractions and updates, there’s no better time to visit than this year!
 

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