As the holiday crowds increase at Disney World, the Disney World news does as well. This past week Disney revealed details on the next Epcot festival, the name of the new Cirque du Soleil show, and we got our first peek inside Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Also, the newest Disney World hotel is opening just in time for Christmas visitors. We have an update on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance along with a rundown of the best holiday foods to try at the parks this month. Fans of the merchandise color themes will be happy to know a new color line has been introduced. We have a rundown on special holiday offerings at Disney Springs as well as the opening date and details of the most popular ice cream spot on property. All this and more in this week’s news roundup.
1 – More Details Released on the 2020 Epcot Festival of the Arts
The next festival at Epcot is just about one month away! Disney has released more information about this fun and interactive festival taking place from January 17-February 24, 2020. More acts have been announced for the popular Broadway Concert Series as well as more activities for guests. Learn more at the link below.
2 – New First Look Video at Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
We’re so excited that Mickey Mouse is finally getting his own attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This week Disney shared a first look into the attraction. Disney cast member Gabriel Bibaldi shares more below.
During the Disney Channel holiday special, “Disney Channel Holiday Party @Walt Disney World,” viewers got a first look at Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway rolling into Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida on March 4, 2020, and coming to Disneyland park in California in 2022.
This will be the first Disney ride-through attraction featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse that will draw guests inside a Mickey cartoon for a fun-filled adventure where “Mouse rules apply” and anything can happen. Check out the first-look video below, hosted by Disney Channel’s “ZOMBIES 2” stars Meg Donnelly and Milo Manheim.
3 – Update on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has proven to be very popular with guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As we have reported before, if you want to enjoy this amazing attraction, you’ll need to join a virtual queue. The virtual queue enables guests to avoid standing in a queue for hours and hours. The catch, though, is that you need to be in the park to join a boarding party. During the first week of the attraction being open, we’ve seen reports of the boarding groups being full anywhere between 7:30 am – 8:30 am with many arriving between 5 and 6 am to ensure they can join a group. In the foreseeable future, if you want to experience this attraction, your entire party will need to plan on getting to Disney’s Hollywood Studios very early in the morning. Also, note that the attraction is not available during Morning or Evening Extra Magic Hours, though the rest of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is available during that time.
Also, when planning on your arrival time, be aware that Disney has been adjusting the opening time of the park in anticipation of the holiday crowds. During December 22-25 the park will now open at 7:00 am (previously 8:00 am), and from December 26-31 the park will open at 6:00 am. January 1-7, 2020, the park will open at 7:00 am. Also, based on the previous two weeks, Disney will likely open the park before official posted times. So, if you are planning on trying to get into a boarding party during the holiday break, be ready for a very early wake up call to get to the park early enough to join the virtual queue. These hours are subject to change (again) so be sure to check your My Disney Experience App for up to date park hours.
4 – Disney Parks Best Bites – December 2019
If you are visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland this month, you’ll want to be on the lookout for some fantastic treats, particularly at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Click on the link below to get the details on the best bites to find this month at Disney Parks.
5 – Disney’s Riviera Resort Now Open
Disney’s Riviera Resort opened on Monday, December 16. This all-new resort coming to Walt Disney World is the 15th Disney Vacation Club property and will immerse guests in the grandeur and enchantment of the European Riviera.
“Disney’s Riviera Resort is inspired by Walt and Lillian Disney’s travels throughout Europe and the Mediterranean coastline —from France to Italy,” said Terri Schultz, senior vice president, and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. “Walt fell in love with European art, architecture, food, and stories, and his extended tours of the region continue to influence Disney storytelling and theming. We look forward to welcoming our members and guests later this year to this new resort inspired by Europe and imagined by Disney.”
We were there to see the dedication ceremony Monday morning and got a look at this exciting new resort. We’ll also be enjoying the all-new character breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace on Tuesday morning. We’ll be bringing you photos of the characters and a review of the breakfast. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for coverage of both events! We’ll have our resort review article up this coming week.
6 – Beaches & Cream Reopening after Refurbishment Later this Month
Beach & Cream Soda Shop is a very popular spot featuring some excellent ice cream treats. The shop was very small and getting a table was challenging. The restaurant has been undergoing a refurbishment to enlarge the space and get some new décor. An opening date has been announced along with some new menu items. Get all the information at the link below.
7 – Name of New Cirque Du Soleil Show at Disney Springs Announced, Tickets Go on Sale
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products have announced Drawn to Life, the highly anticipated, new family-friendly show coming to Disney Springs. Written and directed by Michel Laprise and with Fabrice Becker as Director of creation, this collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering will open for previews March 20, 2020, and officially premiere April 17, 2020. The show will take residency at Disney Springs. Tickets are on sale now at cirquedusoleil.com.
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group President and CEO Daniel Lamarre, says, “For Cirque du Soleil, this is a beautiful way of celebrating Disney’s legacy in the art of animation. This new and exciting production is most certainly the best way to highlight the privileged relationship we have with our colleagues at Walt Disney World and our joint commitment to continually bring audiences new experiences that surpass their expectations.”
The show is a result of years of research and extraordinary collaboration that included extensive visits to Disney theme parks, Walt Disney Archives, Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, The Walt Disney Family Museum, as well as hands-on work between Disney animators and Cirque du Soleil. In fact, the Cirque du Soleil teams collaborated extensively with legacy animators to create the show.
‘’What fascinates us is that moment when life appears in drawings. Just like in an acrobat’s body, the visceral physicality of animation. The way they perform, the way they create the illusion of life,’’ says Michel Laprise Writer and Show Director.
”In creating this show, we’ve brought to life an extraordinary new entertainment experience for the whole family,” said Josh, D’Amaro, president, Walt Disney World Resort, “It blends all the heart, humor and joy of Disney storytelling with new acrobatic performances and effects never before seen in a Cirque du Soleil production.”
This new show follows the story of Julie, a courageous and determined girl who discovers an unexpected gift left by her late father: an unfinished animation piece. Guided by a surprising pencil, she embarks on an inspiring quest sprinkled with her Disney childhood memories. Through this journey, she learns to imagine new possibilities and animate the story of her future.
Drawn to Life will transport guests of all ages into the world of Disney animation in Cirque du Soleil’s signature style. This entirely new experience will wow guests and Cirque du Soleil fans, while bringing timeless Disney stories to life in an unforgettable new way.
‘’It has been a fantastic collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering. We had the chance to work with some of the animators that have worked on iconic Disney movies. You’ll get to meet some of your favourite characters, but maybe in a very different way,’’ says Fabrice Becker, Creation Director.
With an international cast of more than 65 artists, the Cirque du Soleil theater located in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, will welcome up to 1,580 spectators for each show, five days a week.
8 – New Disney Color Collection Released This Week
A new Disney Color Collection has been released at Disney Parks just in time for late minute holiday shopping! Disney cast member Anthony Armenia has all the details below.
We can’t contain our excitement for the debut of the latest new color collection, Belle of the Ball Bronze, as it hits Disney Parks around the world and online at shopDisney.com!
Belle of the Ball Bronze is inspired by the Academy Award-winning animated feature, “Beauty and the Beast” from Walt Disney Animation Studios. This stunning collection is now available at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort and online at shopDisney.com.
Say “Bonjour!” to this sparkling collection featuring a wide assortment of items, from headwear and accessories to men and women’s apparel. There is something for everyone. Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!
At Walt Disney World Resort, show off your bling with a variety of Belle of the Ball Bronze items, including a Minnie Mouse ear headband, baseball hat, Walt Disney World spirit jersey, and even a baseball hat. Then, join the fairytale along Belle herself in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.
These glowing items are available at:
- Emporium at Magic Kingdom Park
- Once Upon a Time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Mouse Gear at Epcot
- World of Disney and Disney Style in Disney Springs
- Discovery Trading Company at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
At Disneyland Resort, get ready to rock your all-new Belle of the Bronze wardrobe, including a sweatshirt, women’s T-shirt, mini backpack by Loungefly, leggings, baseball hat, and of course, Disneyland spirit jersey. Be sure to pick up a Belle of the Ball Bronze Mickey Mouse plush, just in time for the holidays. Then, grab a bite at Red Rose Taverne, a charming fairytale eatery in Fantasyland, before you meet Belle face to face at Royal Hall! Pick up these exciting new items at:
- Emporium at Disneyland park
- Elias & Co. at Disney California Adventure park
- World of Disney at Downtown Disney
Can’t make it out of your castle to the Disney parks? No problem! Eight of these glittering items, including an ornament, Loungefly backpack wristlet, and Minnie ear headband, are available on shopDisney.com.
Don’t forget to use #BelleoftheBallBronze when you venture to the great wide somewhere wearing your “Beauty and the Beast”-inspired styles!
9 – Merry Magic to Explore Inside the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
There is so much to experience at Disney Springs! During the holiday season, visiting the Christmas Tree Trail is a must-do for our family. There are new additions this year that are definitely worth checking out! Disney cast member Kelsey Noland shares more below.
We’re officially in December and I’m full of holiday spirit. My shopping is nearly complete and I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends in Ohio in just 2 more weeks. (Crossing my fingers for some snow!) One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching seasonal films on repeat until Christmas. I’m such a stickler for the classics but I love watching new ones every year like “Noelle,” an original holiday film now streaming on Disney+. This is a must-watch film filled with so many cute characters, funny holiday puns, and very merry magic. Those of you who have visited Disney Springs recently might have noticed we took a few elements from the film and added them to our very own Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail.
If you haven’t had the chance to visit yet, don’t panic—you can explore our winter wonderland through January 5, 2020. With fun “Noelle” activities plus new food and beverage and merchandise, there are so many reasons to visit this season. Here are a few of my favorites:
New Disney Christmas Trees
As soon as I heard my favorite Disney movie “The Lion King” was getting an inspired tree this year I squealed! I was among many that had Lion King fever when the live-action film debuted this past summer and our Holiday Services knocked it out of the park with so many great details and décor. The team also payed homage to “Aladdin” this year with a tree adorned with all your favorite characters and icons (even its own magic carpet). While you’re taking an up-close look at the decorations, you’ll notice a few ornaments in lanterns—these are actual ornaments that can be purchased inside Disney’s Days of Christmas near the exit of the Christmas Tree Trail.
Are you in love with the themed Disney posters scattered throughout the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail? You’re in luck! An all-new collection of Christmas Tree Trail merchandise is available at the Elforium including t-shirts, postcards, luggage tags, tumblers and more. I’ve been in love with these posters since they debuted 4 years ago and I’m always excited to see new ones pop up.
Make sure you stop by The Art of Disney and visit the Print on Demand kiosk where select poster designs are available to purchase as prints (a great holiday gift for a Disney fan!)
Feeling inspired to decorate your own tree at home? There’s an impressive collection of ornaments available as well (some even pre-personalized). Ask cast members about our “Bundle and Save” promotion—select ornaments* are $20 each (plus tax) when you purchase three. (*Valid for ornaments priced at $21.99-$24.99 each. Personalization is available for an additional cost. See store for more details.)
Noelle Kringle’s Café & The Egg Noggery
If you’re looking for something sweet or salty to snack on make a stop at Noelle Kringle’s Café featuring classic snacks like popcorn and Mickey pretzels and festive sweets such as Mrs. Claus’ Churro Bites with Peppermint Chocolate Sauce. Adorable refillable souvenir popcorn buckets are also sold here including the popular Mickey Christmas Tree and Snowman designs. (Available while supplies last.)
Just a few steps away is the Egg Noggery where holiday spirits are aplenty like the “Claus-mo,” “Florida Yule,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Thank Garland Frozen Hot Chocolate.”
Disney+ “Noelle” Photo Opportunity and Dance Party
Keep an eye out for an adorable photo with Noelle and Nick Kringle near the exit of the Christmas Tree Trail then bust a move with your holiday crew at our DJ Dance Party happening 7–11 pm daily. (Located near EARL OF SANDWICH.)
Also you catch a glimpse of the actual costumes from “Noelle” inside the windows at the World of Disney store just across the way from Basin.
Do you have a favorite tree in the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail this year? I’d love to know in the comments below! Share your photos during your visit using #DisneySprings on social media.
10 – New ‘Magic Happens’ Parade Premiere on February 28, 2020, at Disneyland Park
Disneyland is getting a new daytime parade, and we couldn’t be more excited! Disney cast member Shawn Slater has all the details below.
Exciting news! The all-new “Magic Happens” parade will make its debut at Disneyland park, beginning February 28, 2020.
“Magic Happens” celebrates awe-inspiring moments of magic that are at the heart of so many Disney stories. Mickey Mouse leads this new daytime spectacular down Main Street, U.S.A., revealing a parade of stunning floats, beautiful costumes, and beloved Disney characters. “Magic Happens” will also feature an energetic musical score and a new song, co-composed by singer-songwriter Todrick Hall.
Here are some highlights of the new parade, including a few more sneak peeks:
From Walt Disney Animation Studios’ record-breaking hit “Frozen 2,” Anna and Elsa explore the mysteries of an enchanted forest protected by Nokk, the mystical water spirit, as their friends Kristoff, Sven and Olaf tag along.
On her voyager canoe, Moana journeys forth on the crest of a towering wave, inspired by beautiful koa wood carvings and inset with dazzling, animated glimpses into the magic the ocean holds.
Joining Moana on her journey is legendary demigod, Maui, making his Disneyland Resort debut on his own magical island, along with Moana’s adorable pet pig, Pua.
Miguel appears in person for the first time, celebrating the magic that happens when he strums the guitar of Ernesto de la Cruz in the Disney and Pixar film, “Coco.” This spectacular float bridges the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead with vibrant marigolds, and fantastical alebrije spirit animals join the procession, along with Miguel’s dog Danté.
The regal grand finale of “Magic Happens” celebrates magical moments from several classic Disney stories, including the happily-ever-after scene from “Sleeping Beauty” with a trio of fairies and Princess Aurora’s gown shimmering between hues of pink and blue.
“Magic Happens” will remind us we don’t need wings to fly, that shooting stars were made to wish upon, and that magic doesn’t stop at midnight.
What’s New at Walt Disney World!
It’s a very exciting time growth and development at Walt Disney World. In fact, there are so many new things opening, coming and happening, it’s hard to keep track. Here’s a cheat sheet to help keep things straight and make sure you haven’t missed anything.
2019 Holiday Season at Walt Disney World – Now Through January 5, 2020
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Now Open
Disney Skyliner – Now Open
Epcot Forever – Now Open
The Epcot Experience – Now Open
Reimagined Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – Now Open
NBA Experience at Disney Springs – Now Open
Coming Soon to Disney World!
Disney’s Riviera Resort – Opening December 16, 2019
Epcot International Festival of the Arts, January 17-February 24, 2020
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Opening March 4, 2020
Epcot Reimagined – Now Through Fall 2021 for Walt Disney World’s 50thAnniversary
Drawn to Life – New Cirque du Soleil Show – April 17, 2020
Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration – 2021
Star Wars Hotel – 2021
Disney Cruise Line’s Lighthouse Point – Disney’s 2nd Island in the Caribbean – unknown
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