The theme parks of Walt Disney World reopening plans are well underway as parks will begin to welcome guests to the ‘Most Magical Place on Earth’ this week, but when they do not all attractions and shows will be opening.
Let’s take a look at what attractions and shows you will be able to enjoy at each Walt Disney World theme park!
Walt Disney World Reopening: Attractions List by Park
Disney’s Magic Kingdom reopens on July 11th with the following attractions:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Country Bear Jamboree
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
The Hall of Presidents
The Haunted Mansion
It’s a Small World
Liberty Square Riverboat
Mad Tea Party
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Swiss Family Treehouse
Tom Sawyer Island
Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Disney’s Animal Kingdom reopens on July 11th with the following attractions:
The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
Avatar Flight of Passage
Discovery Island Trails
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Kali River Rapids
Na’vi River Journey
The Oasis Exhibits
EPCOT reopens on July 15th with the following attractions:
The American Adventure
Canada Far and Wide
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Friendship Lagoon Boats
Frozen Ever After
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
Impressions de France
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Living with the Land
Reflections of China
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Soarin’ Around the World
Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience
Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopens on July 15th with the following attractions:
Alien Swirling Saucers
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Slinky Dog Dash
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Toy Story Mania!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Vacation Fun (at Mickey Shorts Theater)
Walt Disney Presents
I am beyond excited for the Walt Disney World Resort reopening phases to begin, and will be sharing more information as it becomes available!!!
One of the best times of year to visit the Walt Disney World Resort is the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, and Imagineers have cooked up a creative and modified festival experience that will be the longest festival yet – A Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
This new take on the foodie festival will debut July 15 and continue through the fall, offering over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park.
The Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival combines the floral fun of Flower & Garden with the global goodies of the annual Food & Wine Festival.
If you didn’t get to see the park’s newest topiary, Remy, in the France pavilion, or to purchase any Flower & Garden merchandise, this is your chance!
For scavenger hunt fans, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak scavenger hunt returns to take guests on an adventure to find their favorite ’Tiny Chef’.
While we don’t have information about the Food & Wine merchandise yet, we are sure to share the information as the products join the fun later on after the festival begins.
While popular musical acts during the “Eat to the Beat Concert Series” often pack the house, they will not be a part of the Take of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in an effort to accommodate proper physical distancing.
However, there will be plenty of music to enjoy at America Gardens Theatre with local EPCOT entertainment such as Mariachi Cobre, the JAMMitors and more.
It’s going to be awesome to see these fan favorites perform throughout the day, giving audiences more options to enjoy them.
Yesterday’s announcement was a bummer for Walt Disney World fans who typically flock to the Resort for all of their fall celebrations.
Before we go any further…
All of these decisions are firmly set in logic and continue to show how Walt Disney World is committed to putting guest and Cast Member safety first, and I absolutely appreciate and support the hard decisions that have been made.
That being said, cue the sad trombone as we go over yesterday’s announcement.
5 Things to Know About the Walt Disney World Seasonal Event Announcement
1. BooHoo to You
Let’s just rip the bandaid off of this one….
This year Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom has been canceled.
“While assessing another fall special event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, we determined that many of its hallmarks – stage shows, parades and fireworks – are unable to take place in this new, unprecedented environment. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.”
I wish there was more to say, but here we are.
If you had already purchased Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets, you will receive a refund over the coming weeks.
2. Sort of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
This year Walt Disney World will debut their longest festival ever, the new ‘A Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival’ that will begin on July 15 and continue into “fall”.
The foodie festival will feature 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean spaced out around the park.
EPCOT will sprinkle in some Flower & Garden goodness with Food & Wine, as guests will be able to see the newest topiary, Remy, in the France pavilion and find Flower & Garden merchandise available.
I am excited that Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak scavenger hunt will be returning as that ‘Tiny Chef’ is one of my faves.
And don’t fret, this year the Food & Wine merchandise will join the fun later on after the festival begins.
3. Eat to the Beat
You’ll notice I didn’t mention that the popular Eat to the Beat Concert Series in the new festival line-up, and that’s because in an effort to accommodate proper physical distancing, these concerts will not take place this year.
But this announcement has a bit of a silver lining as local EPCOT entertainment such as Mariachi Cobre, the JAMMitors, and more will get their time to shine on the America Gardens Theatre Stage!
“These fan favorites will spread out their performances throughout the day, giving audiences more options to enjoy them.”
4. Glow is a No
Unfortunately, Disney H2O Glow Nights, the nighttime special ticket event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, will also not take place for the remainder of 2020.
If you had already purchased Disney H2O Glow Nights tickets, you will receive a refund over the coming weeks.
I have my fingers crossed that this event returns in 2021 because it is sooooo much fun to slide under the stars!
What about the holiday season at Walt Disney World?
“Looking ahead to the holiday season, this may spark questions about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which includes the Candlelight Processional. We are monitoring our new environment closely, and will make a decision on these events as we continue to learn more from government and health officials.”
Let’s be real for a moment.
Fall is my favorite time of year at Walt Disney World Resort, I am super sad about these announcements.
However, I am beyond happy that this shows that Walt Disney World is dedicated to safety (even if it means canceling profitable events) and finding ways to keep the ‘Disney Magic’ we love during these unprecedented times.
We are all going to get through this together.
Wear your masks, wash your hands, love each other, and I’ll see ya real soon!
Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort is now open, and currently operating in Phase 1 of their reopening strategy.
I was really excited to be there to see what everything was like, and to share my experience with you!
Here’s what I learned from my visit to Disney Springs that you might find helpful for your next visit!
Disney Springs is managing their parking a little differently than you would expect from their initial announcement.
The Orange and Lime garages will both open however, they are opening the orange garage first to help manage the flow of guests into Disney Springs.
Upon entering the garage be sure to pay attention to new signs and to watch for additional directions from Cast Members.
Currently they are not staggering parking spaces, so be prepared to park as normal.
Pro-Tip: If you want to avoid the crowds, your best access point will be the Hotel Plaza Boulevard Walkway as it has the least amount of foot traffic entering Disney Springs.
Don’t be intimidated by Temperature Check
After you have parked, it’s time to make your way to your Disney Springs pre-admission health check.
Advent Health employees are administering temperature checks at all points of entrance to Disney Springs, and any guest with a temperature over 100.4 will not be granted entrance.
Pro-Tip: This is where they will have disposable masks if you do not have one. You will have to sign a form to receive one, but they are available.
Wearing a mask takes some getting used to
Here’s the truth…
I visited Disney Springs from 9 AM until 3 PM, and it was a pretty hot day (it got up to around 97 degrees).
I wore my mask the entire time, aside from the hour I was eating my lunch, and while it did get a little uncomfortable at times I walked for a while without stepping into a store I wouldn’t say it was unbearable.
The best thing you could do is listen to your body, and if you are getting overheated or overwhelmed step into a store or carry a small fan with you to get a little extra cool air on your face.
Wearing masks reduces the spread of germs, but it only works if everyone participates. Let’s start to change the paradigm of wearing a mask to an act of kindness! Think of it as your way to help others stay safe and healthy.
Pro-Tip: Don’t carry a drink or wear your mask incorrectly, because not only could you be stopped by security…other guests aren’t shy about speaking up. Just wear the mask. Don’t be that person!!!
Speaking of Food
One of my favorite parts of visiting Disney Springs is grabbing a bite to eat because they have so many great options!
If you are planning to have a meal, make sure you make a reservation for full-service dining locations in advance to ensure you have a table as seating is limited.
Also most dining locations are not offering their full menus, so be sure to check in advance online to make sure that they have the dish you have been craving.
If quick service is more your thing, be patient as there have been long lines, especially at Chicken Guy. If you want to cut down on your wait, try eating an hour before or after a ‘typical’ mealtime.
Pro-Tip: Disney is waving 24-hour cancellation fees for missed reservations, so if you change your mind about going out or aren’t feeling up to it you can cancel up to the last minute.
Many shopping locations are open for business, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you start your shopping spree!
First is that you will need to be be prepared for cashless transactions, since they are encouraging customers to pay with apps like Apple Pay over cash transactions.
If you do make a purchase, be a little extra patient as you are waiting in line as most locations are taking extra time between transactions to wipe down keypads between uses.
Make sure that you pay attention outside of stores for queues and social distancing markers. Busier stores, like Sugarboo & Co., are having their employees help regulate the flow of guests in their stores.
Pro-Tip: If a store you want to visit has a long queue to get in, enjoy a walk around D Springs visit when people would typically be eating.
I had an amazing time at Disney Springs, and I’m excited about more stores & restaurants to open!!!
As part of the reopening, SEA LIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds Orlando will honor the tireless work of local medical professionals by providing complimentary tickets to healthcare heroes.
For every guest who shares a photo of their visit and tags the attraction in a social media post during their visit, SEA LIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds Orlando will donate one ticket to a local healthcare worker from a health care partner to be announced soon.
Saturday: 2pm – 10pm
The times for operation vary per day, so make sure to check out their website before you go!
14501 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837
Just make sure you stay on the lookout for their Social Distancing Skunk Ape!!!
Fun Spot Orlando
5700 Fun Spot Way, Orlando FL 32819
Friday: 2pm – 10pm
Saturday and Beyond: Noon – 10pm
Officials said masks are not required but encouraged.
Saturday thru Monday: 10am – 5pm
Fun to Experience as You’re On the Go in the Parks
It was really great to have a portion of the Walt Disney World Resort open again for guests, and even better that I had the opportunity to visit!!!
If you are going to make your way to Disney Springs, make sure that you bring your mask, make any dining reservations you would like in advance online, and take the time to be patient as Cast Members are still getting used to new cleaning procedures.
A phased reopening of Disney Springs will begin on May 20. Following the guidance of government and health officials, a limited number of shopping and dining experiences that are owned by third-party operating participants will begin to open during this initial phase. The rest of Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed, including theme parks and resort hotels.
As we continue to monitor conditions, and with the health of guests and Disney cast members at the forefront of our planning, we are making several operational changes. Disney Springs will begin to reopen in a way that incorporates enhanced safety measures, including increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members.
While the announcement wasn’t full of details, there were 5 key takeaways to note.
Disney Springs Reopening:
5 Things to Know
1. What we know about the locations opening on May 20, 2020…
When Disney Springs reopens guests will find, “a limited number of shopping and dining experiences that are owned by third-party operating participants will begin to open during this initial phase. The rest of Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed, including theme parks and Disney Resort hotels.”
So when it initially reopens, Disney Springs guests will not be able to shop at stores or dine at locations operated by Walt Disney World.
While not listed in this announcement, examples of these Walt Disney World operated locations include stores like World of Disney and the Co Op as well as dining locations like Jock Lindsey’s and D-Luxe Burger.
2. What we know about planning your trip to Disney Springs in the initial reopening phase…
When you think about planning your trip to Disney Springs in this phase, it is important to note that there will be limitations on capacity, parking, and operating hours.
While no specifics were given in this initial announcement about any of these three important details, it will be important to watch for these details to make planning easier.
3. What will be different when Disney Springs begins reopening…
Disney Springs did note in their announcement that they would be making several operational changes that would include enhanced safety measures including increased cleaning procedures, limited-contact Guest Services, and additional safety training for Cast Members
We will apply learnings and ideas from leaders in the health and travel industries, and we’re also talking to our unions as we prepare for some Cast Members to return to work.
Safety is ALWAYS at the forefront of operations at the Walt Disney World Resort, and I am beyond confident that they are going above and beyond to ensure the safety of guests and Cast Members.
4. What will guests need to have to visit Disney Springs…
Included in the many safety measures that Disney Springs is taking is, “…the use of appropriate face coverings by both Cast Members and Guests…”
This isn’t meant to spark debate…just know that you will need to wear a face covering to visit Disney Springs in this phase of reopening.
5. More Information
As we get closer to May 20, 2020, more specific information will be coming out, but I would encourage everyone to stay patient, understanding, and most of all kind as we continue to figure this out together!!!
We are really excited about the reopening of Disney Springs, and will be sharing information as it is released!
Golfing is a great way to spend time outdoors while social distancing, and Walt Disney World Golf, operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management, is offering players the chance to experience their four fantastic courses.
Disney’s Palm Golf Course
Disney’s Palm Golf Course, rated 4 stars by Golf Digest, is an 18-hole championship course that is visually stunning and challenging with 59 bunkers and 9 holes with water hazards.
Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course
Designed in classic Tour style, Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course is the longest of the Walt Disney World Resort golf courses with elevated tees, spacious greens, and wide fairways with 97 bunkers and 11 holes with water hazards.
Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, conceived by Joe Lee, is an 18-hole classic, country-club style course that has hosted the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and USGA events.
Due to the current closure of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, players must have a confirmed tee time reservation before entering the property.
Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Club
Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course is a family-friendly, 9-hole walking course with rolling greens and exciting challenges.
If you are looking for a different spin on the game, you can also take on its 9-Hole FootGolf course that is certified by the American FootGolf League (AFGL), the governing body for the sport of FootGolf in the United States.
FootGolf combines the game of soccer with shortened length golf holes, where the fewest kicks wins the hole.
When you are ready to take your swing, players will notice that significant measures to help ensure the well-being of all who visit and work at Walt Disney World Golf have been implemented.
Most notably, the new “Park and Play” procedure allows players to make an online tee time reservation and pre-pay online. Upon arrival, each player will have a designated sanitized golf cart waiting to take them to the first tee.
Other measures to be aware of include:
Tee time intervals have been adjusted to help aid in social distancing.
Club drop off is not being offered, but the staff will be available if special assistance is required.
Rentals of clubs and shoes are not available.
Tees, pencils, and scorecards can be requested.
The courses no longer have bunker rakes, water coolers, and ball washers.
Flagsticks should not be removed, and raised cups are in use on the greens to make ball retrieval easier.
The Pro Shop is open with special social distancing and sanitizing procedures.
On course food and beverage carts are not in use, however, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Deli (Magnolia, Palm, and Oak Trail) and Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Cafe (Lake Buena Vista) are available during play without seating for guests.
All transactions must be completed with chip only credit cards.
All facilities have hand sanitizers.
You can find more information about the Walt Disney World Golf courses by calling the reservations center at (407) WDW-GOLF or by visiting golfwdw.com.
Have you ever wanted to jump through the screen and into “Mickey Mouse” cartoon short? Well now is your time to make it happen, because anything can happen aboard Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Universal Orlando is celebrating 25 years of its family-friendly Mardi Gras festivities with new parade floats, globally inspired cuisine, and live concerts on select nights from February 1 to April 2 at the Universal Studios Florida theme park.
This year’s parade features six new additional floats and steps-off at 7:45 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
On select nights during the event, guests can enjoy performances by some of the biggest names in music on the Universal Music Plaza Stage.
This weekend you can see:
Saturday, Mar. 7 – REO Speedwagon @ 8:30 pm
Sunday, Mar. 8 – Dustin Lynch @ 8:30 pm
Opening daily at 4 pm, the French Quarter Courtyard is where you can find food and spirits available for purchase and performances from Louisiana jazz, blues, and zydeco bands. You can see the New Breed Brass Band will take to the French Quarter Courtyard Stage daily until March 21.
All of the excitement of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida or with a Seasonal or Annual Pass (blockout dates apply).
And until April 2, Florida residents can experience this year’s Mardi Gras celebration and the spring season by saving up to $65 on multi-day tickets and up to $75 on Seasonal and Annual Passes.
In 2020 the Seven Seas Food Festival will runs weekends through May 5, including Fridays (WOOOOT), to give park-goers plenty more chances to sample more than 180 mouthwatering options from Chef Héctor Colón and his amazing culinary team!
New food offerings include the cricket crusted bison slider, duck and mushroom ramen bowl and the chicken and waffle.
Enjoy local craft beers and mouthwatering culinary flavors while exploring our marketplaces throughout the park.
In addition to delicious eats, guests visiting SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival can enjoy world-class entertainment every Saturday and Sunday at Bayside Stadium, all included with theme park admission.
This weekend the Seven Seas Food Festival will feature free concerts from:
“Jungle” Jack Hanna will once again be visiting SeaWorld Orlando for a weekend of wild animal shows, autograph signings, and special meet-and-greets on January 25 and 26.
The internationally-known animal expert will share animal facts and travel tales from his adventures around the world during animal shows at Nautilus Theater that are included with your theme park admission with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.
1:00p.m. – 1:40p.m.
Wild Animal Live Show with Jack Hanna
3:00p.m. – 3:40p.m.
Wild Animal Live Show with Jack Hanna
Want to meet Jack? All you need to do is arrive at the Nautilus Theater at least 30 minutes before each show time for a special meet-and-greet.
Florida’s biggest Christian Music festival — Universal Orlando’s Rock the Universe — returns on January 24 and 25 for a faith and fun-filled weekend with live music by some of Christian music’s top artists, plus thrilling theme park attractions and entertainment.
Fans will enjoy feature performances by GRAMMY award-winning Christian hip hop recording artist, TobyMac, GRAMMY award-winning contemporary Christian music artist, Chris Tomlin, Dove award-winners, Newsboys, Alternative Rock Band, Switchfoot and more.
An event ticket also provides access to some of Universal Studios Florida’s most entertaining theme park attractions like TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.
Rock the Universe fans will also enjoy autograph sessions with the genre’s top artists and access to the FanZone presented by Coca-Cola, which features more live performances by up-and-coming acts. And, on Sunday morning, guests can wrap up the weekend with a powerful worship service.
On select weekends in January and February, LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s guests will “become the ninja” with their favorite heroes and villains from the world of NINJAGO as LEGO NINJAGO Days take over the theme park.
The limited-time event will feature ninja-themed activities, new LEGO character meet-and-greets and delicious, kid-friendly treats all at the place #BuiltForKids.
All event activities are included with paid admission or annual pass
Strike a ninja pose with characters Kai, Nya, Llyod, Master Wu and for the first time ever, Zane and P.I.X.A.L.
Achieve a state of zen or show off your wacky ninja moves during the “ninjoga” sessions – a yoga class just for kids
Watch real-life ninjas demonstrate abilities in mastering the elements of Spinjitzu. The Dojo comes to life with kicking, spinning and tumbling in the all-new show, Elemental Masters
Become one with the rhythmic forces of nature in Earth Beats, a live, ninja-inspired music and drumming show
Come dressed as your favorite LEGO NINJAGO hero or villain for a chance to win a LEGO prize
Count every Master Wu hiding among the landmarks of MINILAND USA and drop off an entry form at LEGO Studio Store for a chance to win a LEGO prize pack
The all-new Ninja Kitchen food truck’s menu features soon-to-be favorites including Super Fancy Spring Rolls with Peking duck, pork bao buns and sweet Asian chicken wings
Take your taste buds on a tour around the park with delicious treats including kid-themed candy sushi, chocolate fortune cookies, strawberry cheesecake egg rolls, sensei snack mix and ninja nachos
The annual Epcot International Festival of the Arts at the Walt Disney World Resort will fill the park with a celebration of visual, culinary, and performing arts from around the world daily through February 24, 2020.
The Disney on Broadway Concert Series is the highlight of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts as Broadway stars reprise favorite songs from past performances in award-winning shows three times a day on the American Gardens Theatre stage.
Performances are at 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM daily, and you will want to arrive AT LEAST 30 minutes before the concert is set to begin.
Kissy Simmons, Heidi Blickenstaff, Alton Fitzgerald White and Gavin Lee – January 25
Today, the Walt Disney World Resort revealed the 100 extraordinary high school students from across the nation who will participate in the 2020 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine. Each student receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World to participate in the immersive, transformational four-day experience that will take place March 12-15.
To celebrate the students’ selection, ABC’s Good Morning America surprised one member of the new 2020 class, Myah Mitchell of Cambria Heights, NY, by showing up at her school this morning to tell her the news. The full list of students is available at www.DisneyDreamersAcademy.com.
The program, now in its 13th year, is a part of Walt Disney World’s commitment to helping the next generation of young people by inspiring them at a critical time in their development. The Disney Dreamers Academy theme is “Be100,” encouraging teens to be positive, to be “all in” and to carry what they learn back with them so they can relentlessly pursue their dreams and make a difference in the lives of others.
“After 12 successful years, we know the profound impact this program has on these students,” said Tracey D. Powell, Walt Disney World Resort vice president and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “One dream can change the world, and through Disney Dreamers Academy we hope to help these amazing teens turn their dreams into reality.”
Participating students, known as “Disney Dreamers,” embark on a journey throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks and behind the scenes of this 40-square-mile vacation destination. It’s a vibrant classroom where students discover new career opportunities, pursue their dreams, and interact with Harvey and other celebrities and motivational speakers. Past celebrity participants have included singer NE-YO, NBA legend and business mogul Magic Johnson, the star of the Disney’s upcoming live-action “Little Mermaid” Halle Bailey, gospel music star Yolanda Adams, and personalities and cast members from across the Disney corporate family including “Good Morning America’’, ESPN, Disney Channel, the TV series “black-ish” and “grown-ish.”
Students participate in immersive career-oriented workshops that explore a wide range of career disciplines found at Walt Disney World, learning life tools such as effective communication techniques, leadership skills and networking strategies.
“I know from personal experience that big dreams lead to big success,” said Harvey. “Disney understands that concept better than any other company and that is why I partner with them every year on this program to encourage big dreams for the next generation.”
Since 2008, Walt Disney World Resort has provided all-expenses-paid trips to more than 1,200 students, plus a parent or guardian, to participate in the annual Disney Dreamers Academy. Students are selected from thousands of applicants who answered essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future.
“Meeting the 100 impressive students selected for Disney Dreamers Academy each year is a personal highlight for me,” said Michelle Ebanks, Chief Executive Officer of Essence Communications Inc. “I am continually amazed by their ambition, talent and perseverance. Partnering with Disney on this program is an opportunity to carry out our ongoing mission to inspire, inform and empower.”
The annual Epcot International Festival of the Arts at the Walt Disney World Resort will fill the park with a celebration of visual, culinary, and performing arts from around the world beginning January 17 through February 24, 2020.
The 39 day event features visiting artists, culinary delights, and opportunities for guests to embrace their own inner artists.
Disney on Broadway Concert Series
The Disney on Broadway Concert Series is the highlight of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts as Broadway stars reprise favorite songs from past performances in award-winning shows three times a day on the American Gardens Theatre stage.
The shows are included with your admission to Epcot, and here is the announced performance schedule:
January 17, 20, 21, 24, and 25: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (“The Lion King”)
January 18, 19, 22, 23, and 25: Heidi Blickenstaff (“The Little Mermaid”; “Freaky Friday”) and Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”)
January 25: Special performance featuring Simmons, White, Blickenstaff and Lee
January 26, 28, 29; February 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9: Kara Lindsay (“Newsies”) and Kevin Massey (“Tarzan”)
February 10, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22, 23, and 24: Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”; “Beauty and the Beast”) and Josh Strickland (Tarzan)
The only way to guarantee seating for a Disney on Broadway concert, is by reserving aDining Package that includes seating for one show on the day of the dining experience. Reservations for these packages can be made online at ArtfulEpcot.com or by calling (407) WDW-FEST.
During this year’s festival guests can enjoy twelve festival Food Studios plus additional food and beverage locations throughout the park that will be offering a variety of delicious, imaginative, and artistically sculpted dishes.
Unique entertainment options celebrate the visual arts daily as artists paint favorite Disney characters in minutes, living statues inspired by Epcot interact with guests, high school bands perform, and performers complete thrilling acts of strength that defy gravity and imagination on sidewalks and common spaces of the park.
Family Festival Fun
This year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts has fun for the entire family with the new Green Landing Family Play Zone where Wall-E and Eve invite the entire family to enjoy a lush environment built for exploring, Figment’s Brush with the Masters scavenger hunt leads them throughout World Showcase to find where the friendly dragon has painted himself into famous pieces of art, and the chance to step into several photo-ops throughout Epcot including the Peter Pan Storybook installation by the United Kingdom pavilion.
Premium Festival Experiences
In addition to the experiences included with admission to the park, festival goers can enhance their day with several premium festival experiences. This year Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion will be hosting a prix fixe brunch each Saturday and Sunday, guests can Paint with a Disney Artist, take the guided World Showcase: Destinations Discovered tour, and even enroll in a series of workshops to unleash their inner artist.
Reservations for these experiences are required and must be made in advance. Visit ArtfulEpcot.com for details.
While 2019 was an incredible year of growth for the theme parks of Central Florida, 2020 will bring even more fun to the parks with new attractions, entertainment, restaurants, hotels, and celebrations.
The Universal Orlando Resort will open their eighth hotel, Dockside Inn and Suites at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, in March 2020 with exclusive benefits and rates starting at $85. The resort will have 2,050 guest rooms featuring both standard rooms and 2-Bedroom Suites that can accommodate up to six people.
Making its debut in spring 2020, riders will shiver through family friendly adventures on SeaWorld Orlando’s first launch coaster: Ice Breaker. Named after the icy Arctic summits, Ice Breaker will feature four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 93-foot tall spike with 100-degree angle.
Aquatica Orlando will open Florida’s first-ever dueling water slide, Riptide Race.
Each team of two will start atop a 68-foot tower before they speed along 650 feet of slide with low walls racing face-to-face through tight loops and accelerations including indoor and outdoor sections.
Riptide Race will have a height requirement of 42 inches to appeal to families with children, and the new slide will be located on the north side of the park next to Banana Beach Cook Out.
Iron Gwazi takes thrills to new heights, plunging riders from a 206 foot-tall peak into a 91-degree drop and reaching top speeds of 76 miles per hour. With elements of the former wooden attraction being integrated into the new ride, the journey will include three inversions and 12 airtime hills as it races along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track. With a 48” height requirement, Iron Gwazi will be an exciting thrill attraction that families can take on together.
Located just 130 kid-steps from the theme park entrance, LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel will feature 150 LEGO-filled rooms, a heated pool, hundreds of LEGO models, in-room LEGO treasure hunts, and exclusive character experiences. Similar to the popular LEGOLAND Hotel, each room will include two separate spaces: a kid’s sleeping area and an adult area.
The five-story hotel will house the pirate-themed Shipwreck Restaurant with family-style dining, Smuggler’s Bar for adult swashbucklers, an entertainment area with kid-friendly nightly programming and LEGO play areas.
Also, with every overnight stay, guests will enjoy a complimentary family-style breakfast. Directly outside the entrance to the hotel, a pirate shipwreck will greet guests and offer a unique photo opportunity.
Pirate Water Ski Show Adventure
After an eight year run, Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty will close to make way for a brand-new pirate adventure on April 18 with skiing acrobatics, water stunts, pirate humor and more surprises.
During PirateFest guests will learn to walk like a pirate, talk like a pirate, and vacation like a pirate during this three-weekend event.
During the event an exclusive “pirate passport” will outline the resort-wide activities that includes exclusive pirate character meet and greets.
For the first time ever, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will have their own ride-through attraction. Using cutting edge technology, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disney’s Hollywood Studios will take guests through the movie screen to join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and pals on a wacky adventure with a Goofy conductor at the helm.
Cique du Soleil Show | Disney Springs
Walt Disney Animation Studios stories will come to life in a first-of-its-kind show that combines Disney storytelling with Cirque du Soleil artistry featuring new original acrobatic sequences, dazzling choreography, musical masterpieces and whimsical characters at Disney Springs. Previews will begin March 20, 2020, leading up to the world premiere on April 17.
City Works Eatery & Pour House | Disney Springs
City Works Eatery & Pour House will offer a menu of classic American food with chef-driven twists for lunch and dinner serving over 90 local and global varieties of beers on tap. The 8,632 square foot building will house the restaurant, retail space, expansive seating, high-definition TVs – including a 165-inch screen – and a 1,767 square foot patio.
The space will also exhibit three full-service bars, two of which allow for covered, open air dining along the patio.
Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue is a fast-casual restaurant where the pit master uses techniques from classic barbecue regions to smoke selections over oak wood, they serve four delicious house-recipe sauces – Spicy Mop Sauce, Sweet BBQ Sauce, Vinegar-based Sauce, and Tangy Mustard Sauce also known as “Carolina Gold” – and serve up a variety of beers, cocktails, and ciders from around the United States.
Awesome Planet | Epcot – The Land
Awesome Planet is an on-screen exploration of our planet that highlights the beauty, diversity and dynamic story of Earth with spectacular nature photography, immersive in-theater effects, and a space sequences created by Industrial Light & Magic.
HarmonioUS | Epcot – World Showcase Lagoon
HarmonioUS will debut at Epcot as the largest nighttime theme park spectacular ever created for a Disney park.
It will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over that features familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists from around the globe. HarmonioUS will light up World Showcase Lagoon and the night sky with floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers, and more.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure | Epcot – France Pavilion
Remy’s Ratatouille is similar to the 4-D attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, where you shrink down in size to join Remy and friends, who have cooked up a delicious feast.
But the adventure goes awry when you are discovered by Chef Skinner who chases you through the sights, sounds, and smells of Gusteau’s famous Parisian restaurant.
La Crêperie de Paris | Epcot – France Pavilion
La Crêperie de Paris will feature the cuisine of celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse, the mastermind behind the pavilion’s Chefs de France brasserie and Monsieur Paul. With a menu inspired by the Brittany region of France, the new location will offer table service dining as well as a quick-service stop for guests craving savory crepes called galettes and sweet crepes.
Beauty and the Beast Sing Along | Epcot – France Pavilion
The Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along, directed by Don Hahn who was the producer of both the animated and live-action versions of this tale as old as time, will rotate with the classic Impressions de France film in the France Pavilion.
Wonderous China | Epcot – China Pavilion
In the China pavilion, Wondrous China will take guests on a spectacular journey across China, filmed and presented in a completely seamless 360-degree digital format.
Canada Far and Wide | Epcot – Canada Pavilion
The film Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 will debut in January 2020 in the Canada pavilion with new scenes and a new story.
The new restaurant Space 220, an expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion in Future World, will be an out-of-this-world culinary experience with the celestial panorama of a space station, including daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up.
Disney Genie is the next step in technology focused on making Walt Disney World vacation planning easier with flexible and customized itineraries geared to your interests in 2020.
Disney Genie will also share real-time theme park tips and updates, recommendations based on your preferences, and will make reservations for the experience in multiple steps for you.
SPACE 220 RESTAURANT IN EPCOT AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT WILL LAUNCH GUESTS TO A NEW HEIGHT OF DINING
Space 220 Restaurant and Lounge in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort promises to provide the ‘height of dining’ to visitors when it opens in 2020, and the Patina Restaurant Group has released new details about their latest signature table-service.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept, Space 220 will invite guests to feel as though they have traveled into the cosmos. The simulated expedition will provide stunning views of Earth by day and night in a new out-of-this-world culinary experience among the stars.
The adventure begins when a crew member invites guests to step inside the restaurant’s space elevator and prepare for liftoff. Guests will feel as if they are on a scenic excursion traveling 220 miles directly above Earth’s surface, docking at the Centauri Space Station suspended just beyond the orbit of Mission: SPACE.
Upon their arrival at the restaurant, guests will be guided to their seats past the grow zone, a spinning wall of produce that mimics Earth’s gravity and represents some of the fresh ingredients used by the culinary team.
“I look forward to welcoming guests to Space 220, an immersive culinary journey intended to celebrate the wonders of our solar system and transport guests 220 miles above Earth’s surface to experience the height of dining,” said Nick Valenti on behalf of Patina Restaurant Group and parent company, Delaware North.
Space 220 will feature the celestial panorama of a space station combined with gourmet menu offerings. Visitors can expect to witness the sublime sights of passing satellites or floating astronauts while enjoying interstellar dishes during a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The highly anticipated restaurant concept will begin departures this winter.
The holidays at Disney Springs are filled with fun activities, entertainment, and sweet treats…but my favorite holiday experience is the Christmas Tree Trail!
Open from 11 am until 11pm until January 5th, the Christmas Tree Trail gets you in the yuletide spirit as you explore a winter wonderland where snow falls and holiday tunes fill the air.
Make your way through a winding path lined with 23 beautifully decorated Christmas trees inspired by some of your Disney favorites including:
Walt Disney World Theme Parks
Mickey & Minnie Mouse
Beauty & the Beast
The Princess & The Frog
The Little Mermaid
The Lion King
In addition to the trees, you can visit Santa’s Chalet to meet the big guy himself to let him know what’s on your wish list.
You will need to visit the kiosk at the front of the trail, near Earl of Sandwich, or near Santa’s Chalet to get a return time as there is no standard queue.
To be in the queue you will need to give a Cast Member a cell phone number, and the system will send you two text messages – one to say you are in the virtual queue & one when it is your time to go to Santa’s Chalet for your visit.
Do note that once you arrive at the Chalet, all of your party needs to be present and you will still have a 30 minute wait to see Santa.
My best tip for avoiding a long wait is to arrive at the Christmas Tree Trail about fifteen minutes early to sign up for your virtual spot in the queue.
This holiday season, ABC and the Disney Channel will transport the magic of Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line to viewers with three magical Disney Holiday Specials featuring star-studded performances, merry entertainment and more.
During the Disney Holiday Specials, viewers will get exclusive looks at upcoming Disney Parks attractions, including Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opening soon at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.
ABC officially kicks off the holidays with “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration,“ THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC; followed by “Disney Channel Holiday Party @ Walt Disney World,“ premiering FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EST), on Disney Channel and in the DisneyNOW app. As part of the annual tradition, the “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” airs Christmas morning, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 25 (10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00-11:00 a.m. CST/MST/PST; airtimes vary, check listings, on ABC and on the ABC app).
“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” kicks off the holiday seasonThursday, November 28, from 8:00-10:00 p.m. EST, on ABC and on the ABC app.
Join hosts artist Matthew Morrison, singer-songwriter and TV host Emma Bunton, and TV host Jesse Palmer as they present the two-hour prime-time special on Thanksgiving night from Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort in California.
This magical celebration will feature celebrity musical performances among a flurry of Disney holiday entertainment. During the prime-time special, viewers will be treated to several Disney Parks sneak peeks, including a behind-the-scenes look into Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opening in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on December 5, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and January 17, 2020, at Disneyland Park in California.
Musical performances include the following:
GRAMMYAward-winning icons Sting and Shaggy perform duets and solo numbers from Walt Disney World Resort, including a new festive reggae version of “Silent Night (Christmas is Coming).”
GRAMMY Award-winning rock band Portugal. The Man performs “Happy Christmas” and “Merry Christmas Everybody” from Disneyland Resort.
Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning group Pentatonix will sing a cappella renditions of “Deck the Halls” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Singers Ingrid Michaelson and Andy Grammer perform an all-new original holiday song from Disneyland Resort.
International pop star Ally Brooke sings “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Singer-songwriter and TV host Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) performs “Santa Baby” from Walt Disney World Resort.
The Tony, Emmy, and two-time Golden Globe-nominated artist Matthew Morrison performs a medley from Walt Disney World Resort of “When You Wish Upon A Star” from the upcoming album “Disney Dreamin’ with Matthew Morrison” and the classic “Let it Snow.”
Acclaimed two-time Billboard Award-winning electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling pulls all the strings for “Carol of the Bells” from Walt Disney World Resort.
“Disney Channel Holiday Party @ Walt Disney World“ airs Friday, December 13, from 8:00-8:30 p.m. EST/PST, on Disney Channel and in the DisneyNOW app. Disney Channel’s “ZOMBIES 2” stars MegDonnelly and Milo Manheim will co-host this holiday party with artist Matthew Morrison, treating fans to a magical holiday celebration featuring performances from Shaggy, Pentatonix andDisney Channel stars Issac Ryan Brown (“Raven’s Home“), Ruby Rose Turner (“Coop & Cami Ask the World”), and Kylie Cantrall (“Gabby Duran & The Unsittables”) broadcast from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and aboard the majestic Disney Fantasy – part of the Disney Cruise Line fleet.
During the special, viewers will enjoy exclusive Disney Parks sneak peeks, including a first look at Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in spring 2020 and Disneyland Park in California in the future. Viewers will also get an exclusive look at the Disney Channel Original Movie sequel “ZOMBIES 2,” premiering on Disney Channel in 2020.
Additionally, “BUNK’D” stars Scarlett Estevez and Israel Johnson will host a special family segment highlighting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program.
Musical performances include the following:
Disney Channel’s “ZOMBIES 2” star Meg Donnelly sings “Home for the Holidays” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Channel stars Issac Ryan Brown (”Raven’s Home”) and Ruby Rose Turner (”Coop & Cami Ask the World”) perform “12 Days of Christmas” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Channel’s “Gabby Duran & The Unsittables” star Kylie Cantrall performs “Santa Claus is Coming to Town“ aboard the Disney Fantasy.
Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning Pentatonix performs an a cappella renditionof “Here Comes Santa Claus” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Two-time GRAMMY Award-winning reggae star Shaggy sings “Jamaican Drummer Boy” from Walt Disney World Resort.
“Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” airsWednesday, December 25, from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00-11:00 a.m. CST/MST/PST; airtimes vary, check listings, on ABC and on the ABC app.
Disney’s annual Christmas celebration airs Christmas morning on ABC hosted by artist Matthew Morrison,singer-songwriter and TV host Emma Bunton, and TV host Jesse Palmer. Joining as co-hosts are ABC’s “black-ish” star Marsai Martin with Hollywood Records Artist and Disney’s “The Lion King” star JD McCrary, who voiced young Simba in the live-action film.
Presented from Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort in California, the show features the Christmas Day Parade down Main Street U.S.A., heartwarming stories and amazing celebrity performances. Among the exclusive Disney Parks sneak peeks planned for this special are Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in spring 2020 and Disneyland Park in California in the future, plus Avengers Campus coming to Disney California Adventure Park in California in 2020.
Viewers will also get a special look at “the most magical flight on earth”: the newly opened Disney Skyliner gondola system, connecting Walt Disney World Resort guests to two Disney theme parks and four resorts, including the new Disney’s Riviera Resort, opening December 16.
Musical performances include the following:
Seventeen-time GRAMMY Award-winning Sting performs “Soul Cake” off his platinum-selling album “If On A Winter’s Night…” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Two-time GRAMMY Award-winning reggae star Shaggy sings his new Caribbean-flavored original song “Christmas with Friends” from Walt Disney World Resort
Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning a cappella group Pentatonix performs “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Singers Ingrid Michaelson and Grace VanderWaal sing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” from Disneyland Resort.
GRAMMY Award-winning rock band Portugal. The Man performs “White Christmas” and “Feel it Still” from Disneyland Resort.
International pop star Ally Brooke performs “Christmas Through Your Eyes” from Walt Disney World Resort.
The cast of the new Disney+ original “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” performs a high-energy medley from Disneyland Resort.
The Disney Holiday specials are a collaboration by Disney Parks, ABC, Disney Channel and Endeavor Content, and I can’t wait to tune in!