Wow, what a week! Things have been very busy here at the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney is gearing up for a fall season with lots of crowds by announced a fantastic perk for Disney Resort guests. Disney’s Hollywood Studios 30thAnniversary brought lots of news about what is coming soon to this awesome park. We got sneak peek at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, new park rules went into effect, and U.S. Navy Blue Angles made a special visit to Epcot, plus a whole lot more. Get details on all these stories and more in our weekly Disney World news roundup.
1 – New EXTRA, Extra Magic Hours Announced for Walt Disney World this Fall
Being a Disney Resort guest brings a lot of great benefits, and this fall is a great time to stay at a Disney Resort. Disney has announced new EXTRA, Extra Magic Hours that will give Disney Resort guests even more exclusive park time and give guests a leg up on the crowds at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
From September 1-November 2, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have EXTRA, Extra Magic Hours from 6–9 am that includes access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, and other select attractions. (Please note that on August 29-31, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open at6 am for all guests. There will not be Extra, Extra Magic Hours on those days.) This is going to be a considerable advantage for guests wanting to visit Galaxy’s Edge. Disney has already announced there will be capacity limits for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge itself and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. During those dates, Disney Resort guests will likely fill up the land. It is likely that non-Disney Resort guests may not be able to enter due to crowd limits. Bottom line, if you want the best chance to get into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—stay at a Disney Resort.
Normally, on any given day, only a single park will have Extra Magic Hours. So, if Disney Resort guests want to take advantage of the extra time, they all head to the same park. This fall, in addition to the extra hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom Park will also offer EXTRA, Extra Magic Hours. From August 29-November 2 from 7–8 am, resort guests will be able to enjoy an extra hour in these parks. (Epcot will continue to offer Extra Magic Hours on select days). This is also a great benefit. If you don’t plan on visiting Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll get to enjoy Extra Magic benefits in other Disney parks every day.
This fall is going to be very busy at Walt Disney World. Staying on Disney property will offer many significant benefits. If you’re looking to stay at a Disney Resort, we highly recommend booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to ensure you are well taken care of and get all the discounts available to you. We personally book all our Disney trips (and we do Disney a lot) with Magical Vacation Planners because they are the best and we trust them. For more details and help booking your vacation, call (407) 442-0227. You can also get a no obligation, FREE vacation quote by clicking here. Their services are free to you, and they can answer any questions you may have.
2 – New Table Service Restaurant Announced for Toy Story Land
What do most people complain about Toy Story Land? There’s nowhere to enjoy some air-conditioning and Woody’s Lunch Box is too small! Perhaps to address those needs, Disney has announced a new table service restaurant is coming to Toy Story Land that will invite guests to dine with some of Woody’s favorite toys. Click here for all the details.
3 – New Rules Regarding Smoking, Stroller Sizes, and Ice Are Now in Effect
In late March, Disney announced major new rule changes that have now gone in effect which impact smokers, limits on stroller size and what may and may not be brought in coolers. Click here for all the details.
4 – We Went Inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and It Was Awesome!
As part of a small group of media representatives, Cindy had the chance to go in and explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It was an amazing experience, and we’re even more excited for Galaxy’s Edge to open! Click here to read about her experience and what she learned from three Walt Disney Imagineers.
5 – What’s New and Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has undoubtedly experienced the most change than any other park. Many still miss and grieve for the old days of Disney’s MGM Studios. However, there is a lot to look forward to! Click here to read about what’s new and coming at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
6 – Foodie Guide to Disney Villains After Hours Event
Tickets are now on sale for the Disney Villains After Hours Event this summer! This event looks to be truly amazing. Disney has also released a Foodie Guide with some pretty amazing treats for guests to purchase. Click here to take a look.
7 – New Logo Announced
It has been confirmed for some time that the park name would remain Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, since the park is being transformed into a new identity, a new logo has been announced. The logo features Mickey Mouse, Woody, and BB-8.
8 – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Two Disney Imagineers shared with us new details about this Mickey themed attraction coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios next year. We are now so excited about this attraction. Click here to learn all about Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
9 – Wonderful World of Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
May 1, 2019, also brought the official debut of the new projection show, Wonderful World of Animation. It’s a great show that celebrates Disney and Pixar animated films! Below is a video of the new show.
10 – New Pirate Experience Now Open at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Ahoy there! If you’re looking to give your kids a swashbuckling adventure, then you might want to check out Disney’s newest pirate experience now open at Disney’s Beach Club resort. Click here for all the details.
11 – Disney Junior’s ‘Fancy Nancy’ Adds a Little Fancy to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Looking to add a little bit of fancy to your next trip to Hollywood studios? Look no further! Fancy Nancy has arrived at Hollywood Studios! Disney Cast Member Shawn Slater has all the details below!
Here’s some news that’s “fantastique!” “Fancy Nancy” has arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios just in time for the park’s 30th-anniversary celebration this week.
You can say “Bonjour!” to Nancy at an all-new character greeting location in the park’s Animation Courtyard, where she’s making “une grande entrée” in front of her backyard playhouse. Starting April 30, Nancy will also be part of the breakfast-time fun during Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood & Vine, the place to eat, play and laugh along with favorite Disney Junior friends including Vampirina, Doc McStuffins and Roadster Racer Goofy.
Disney Junior’s animated family comedy “Fancy Nancy” follows six-year-old Nancy, whose imagination and enthusiasm for all that is exquisite transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary – from her vast vocabulary to her creative and elaborate attire. Nancy uses ingenuity and resourcefulness to exemplify that even if life doesn’t always go as planned, it’s important to make the most of each day and encourage others to do the same.
“Fancy Nancy” airs weekdays on Disney Channel and daily on Disney Junior, and is also available in the DisneyNOW app.
12 – New Limited-Time Lion King Dining Experience Coming to Jiko-The Cooking Place
It’s been twenty-five years since the release of “The Lion King” and Disney is celebrating the film with special events and dining experiences. This week Disney announced another dining experience that is coming to Jiko-The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge this summer. Click here for all the details!
13 – Mother’s Day Celebration at Disney World
Mother’s Day less than a week away. There are so many ways to celebrate Mom at Disney World. Click here for some great ideas.
14 – New Burger of the Month at The Edison
With summer just on the horizon, there’s no better way to bring the heat and celebrate than with a sizzling selection of burgers and flavor-packed drinks to match at The Edison in Disney Springs. You won’t want to miss the chance to sink your teeth into these seasonal, limited time offerings.
At The Edison, take a bite out of “BBQ Tavern Burger,” featuring the signature Edison blend of sirloin, short rib, and brisket with a BBQ style twist, fully loaded with crispy potato wedges, juicy bacon, lettuce, tomato and served on a toasted, buttery brioche roll. Accompany the May specialty with the aromatic “Almond Crusta” cocktail featuring Martell Blue Swift cognac, Tanqueray No. Ten gin, lemon juice, orgeat, and Angostura bitters for an electric pairing.
15 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios Celebrates 30 Magical Years
This past week we enjoyed a two-day media event where we had a chance to experience the 30thAnniversary Celebrations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. To watch the Star-Studded Celebration from the May 1 event head to our Instagram account by clicking the following links – Part 1 and Part 2.
16 – 30thAnniversary Merchandise and Food
Even though May 1 has come and gone, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be celebrating all year long. While limited edition items have sold out, there are still some 30thAnniversary items that are available. Click here to see the 30thAnniversary merchandise items. Likewise, specialty food items will be sticking around all summer. Click here to see some of the foods being offered throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
17 – There’s a New Baby Gorilla at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
There is a new baby gorilla at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Disney Cast Member Scott Terrell shares the details:
One of the things we love most at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is welcoming babies to our family, and the animal care team is delighted to announce the birth of a healthy baby western lowland gorilla!
Mom Kashata delivered the infant Wednesday morning, May 1, and both mom and baby are doing well and bonding onstage at Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail with the rest of the family troop. The entire family even joined in the celebration of the new baby’s arrival with a special enrichment tactic to reveal the baby’s gender.
Guess what – it’s a girl! And her name is Grace!
Kashata and the baby’s father, Gino, were chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP). The program is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and ensures responsible breeding of critically endangered species, such as western lowland gorillas, so they will have healthy, genetically diverse populations for years to come.
The team of Disney animal care experts has decided to name the baby Grace after the GRACE gorilla sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is dedicated to helping gorillas orphaned by poaching. Animal care experts from Disney’s Animal Kingdom have spent more than 10 years helping the GRACE team and local community rehabilitate orphan gorillas and protect the species in the wild.
Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom can join in the celebration of the baby’s arrival by visiting Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and may catch a glimpse of Kashata and the baby. Exclusive photo opportunities are also available, as well as a specialty cupcake, available for purchase at Tamu Tamu Refreshments.
For more information about gorillas, visit DisneyAnimals.com.
Check out this video of Kashata and Grace’s first moments’ bonding onstage at Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, as well as the fun the rest of the family had helping us with a gender reveal.
18 – Disney Celebrates Word Wish Day
Walt Disney World Resort is celebrating World Wish Day by honoring the thousands of wishes granted at its parks and resorts every year, and is investing $20,000 in Make-A-Wish® Central and Northern Florida to help make the dreams of even more children a reality.
Nearly half of the children eligible for wishes through wish-granting nonprofit organizations in the United States choose a Disney-inspired wish, including visits to Walt Disney World Resort.
This World Wish Day®—a day dedicated to celebrating the incredible impact a wish come true can have on a child battling a critical illness—Walt Disney World Resort is honoring the more than 8,400 wishes granted at its parks and resorts every year, and is investing $20,000 in Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida to help make the dreams of even more children a reality.
“Seeing the magic of Disney through the eyes of a wish child is an unforgettable experience,” said Rena Langley, senior vice president of public affairs at Walt Disney World Resort. “Granting these inspiring wishes at Walt Disney World Resort creates magical memories not only for the families, but also for our Cast Members who help make these special wishes come true.”
Also today, The Walt Disney Company and Make-A-Wish launched the #FriendLikeMe Challenge to celebrate the May 24, 2019 release of the studio’s much anticipated new movie “Aladdin.” To learn more, visit FriendLikeMe.org.
Disney has a longstanding partnership with Make-A-Wish, dating back to 1980 when the first official wish kid’s dreams came true at Disneyland Resort, lasting through today as Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products, sits on the national board of directors for the organization. Throughout the years, more than 130,000 Disney-inspired wishes have been granted through Make-A-Wish, including visits to our theme parks, Disney cruises, and meet and greets with beloved Disney celebrities and characters. One of every two Make-A-Wish wishes in the United States comes true each year in partnership with The Walt Disney Company.
“Disney-inspired wishes have long been the most requested among wish kids across the country,” said Anne Cuba, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida. “Granting a child’s wish is already a magical experience, but folding the Disney magic into it as well makes for an unforgettable, life-changing moment for the child and their family.”
Walt Disney World Resort has also supported Give Kids the World Village, a nonprofit vacation resort for critically ill children and their families, since the resort doors opened in 1986. With the help of nearly 40,000 Disney VoluntEARS hours annually, Give Kids the World Village provides unforgettable experiences to 7,000 families each year. Wish families staying at the resort receive expedited attraction entry to Walt Disney World Resort attractions, complimentary stroller and wheelchair rentals, and have exclusive access to the Disney Wish Lounge at Magic Kingdom Park. Families staying at the resort also enjoy weekly visits from Disney VoluntEARS and Disney character favorites.
19 – U.S. Navy Blue Angels Perform Spectacular Flyovers at Epcot
This week Epoct received some very special guests! Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Thomas Smith:[On Thursday, May 2], guests visiting Epcot cheered as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels performed several magical passes above the iconic Spaceship Earth attraction in honor of Military Appreciation Month.
The Blue Angels executed two flyovers at 500 feet, roaring by at speeds of more than 250 mph. During one of the passes, the pilots performed a perfect “Delta Break” maneuver above the Spaceship Earth.
Many guests at Epcot, which included visiting U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families, said it was a special experience watching some of the world’s best pilots in action during their Disney vacation. “I did two tours in Vietnam and I was on the USS Somers and to see them go right over Spaceship Earth and on the second pass, when they split up – it was awesome,” Epcot guest and Navy veteran James Fredricks said. “I can’t help myself from getting emotional about it.”
As many of our readers know, supporting the U.S. Armed Forces and celebrating their service has long been a Disney tradition. After [the] celebration at Epcot, the Blue Angels are traveling south – to the Fort Lauderdale Air Show in Florida.
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